Attn: Prospective Thieves, the electronic device has been removed from my vehicle. There is nothing left inside, but dirty diapers and old Filet-O-Fish wrappers.
I don’t mean to beat this topic to death. The majority of you agree there needs to be less vehicular traffic on the boardwalk. Because of that, I plan on beating this topic to death.
Today we’re going to talk about alternative vehicles for our LBPD. While we all agree that they need to patrol and respond quickly and safely to all emergences, their 2.5 ton cars do contribute to some boardwalk damage. Besides, i’m not exactly sure how safe it is to drive an average sized car, on what is essentially a sidewalk. Perhaps we can replace them with a lighter and safer alternative vehicles?
So here are a few that police departments in other municipalities use. This stuff costs money, but so does large amounts of wood & nails, slip & fall lawsuits and hours of boardwalk repair. Footing the bill for better means of transportation that is lighter and safer is a no-brainer. Oh, and this does not apply to ambulances; I’m strictly talking daily patrol that does a wear and tear to the boardwalk and our wallets.
1) Let’s start with the basic: Mounted Police. I feel like when I first moved to Long Beach, I saw some horse-mounted LBPD. Can somebody please confirm whether or not our LBPD has horses? Benefits: They give the officers some height and eyesight distance, they look cool, you can pet them (the horses, not the officers) and besides, who doesn’t love a horse? Negatives: Not ideal for the officers during the colder months. The horses need food, care and a place to sleep. Lots of horse poop and flies all over the place. (Although, that can be a positive if we create a long Beach community garden).
2) Next we have the complete opposite of a horse: Segways. Our LBPD has them already; The LB Patch recently did a whole article about it (read – Segways on the Boardwalk). I’m not the biggest fan of segways for the LBPD, but what do I know? Maybe it’s because you can’t pet them like a horse, but they seem like an expensive gimmick that should be left for mall cops. Benefits: Futuristic, faster than a person running, easy to maneuver. Negatives: Not ideal during the cold months or snow. Also, when you see a person riding a segway, part of you wants to laugh; that is not ideal for the image of an intimidating police officer.
(Photo Credit – Sergeant Eric Cregeen, LB Patch: Segways on the Boardwalk)
3) The next two photos were sent in by a reader named KAYO, who said, “LBPD patrolled the boardwalk years ago with vehicles like these. They used a 3 wheel scooter that was nearly silent and caught lots of underage drinkers who didn’t notice it coming. There is no reason that they can’t return these lightweight’s to service.”
I personally don’t remember the three-wheel vehicles, but I also didn’t pay much attention to this stuff back then. Benefits: three wheels = one less flat tire to worry about. Less dangerous for pedestrians/cyclists during an emergency because they’re smaller and easier to maneuver. They take up less room, are lighter and more fuel efficient than your average police vehicle. They work every season too, so cold weather shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps this is the way to go for LBPD boardwalk patrol? Negatives: I honestly can’t think of any.
4) Gem Cars / Golf Carts. I took the following photo in Coney Island just a few months ago. I was actually on that boardwalk for several hours and not once did I see a regular sized car or truck pass by. The sanitation carts even had hitches on the back for garbage storage. Our LBPD does have some all-terrain versions of these (wish I had a photo, but I don’t). Benefits & Negatives: Similar to the three-wheel cars (see above).
5) Bicycles. Benefits: Exercise! This is ideal on a hot summer day when the boardwalk is crowded. Negatives: Would require more LBPD patrol to cover more ground. Plus, I wouldn’t want to tourture Long Beach’s finest when it snows or rains.
Conclusion: I personally think those three-wheel carts or Gem/Golf Carts are the best way to go. They’ll keep the LBPD warm and dry when it’s cold and wet out. They’re faster than a person running, yet not large enough to create a dangerous situation if an emergency arises. Plus, the officers might not feel so removed from boardwalk-happenings like they might in their comfy cars. Most of all, these ligher vehicles will have less of an impact on our boards: A police vehicle can weigh somewhere between 2000 to 3500 pounds. A Gem Car? 1200 lbs, give or take the amount of options you give it.
Any thoughts? Am I missing anything?
This NY Post article was sent in by a reader named Anne, who called it ‘Crazy $hit’ and added “The politics out here are unbelievable!”
“Six Long Island cops claim their commissioner is putting politics before the badge.
The Long Beach crime fighters say they’ve been targeted by the seaside town’s Democratic machine for supporting GOP candidates in local elections last year.
Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney, a longtime Democrat, demoted the cops, cut their overtime, switched them to midnight tours and even filed false internal charges against them for “political payback,” the veteran officers claim in a $39 million lawsuit.
“It’s just the way politics work in this town,” Tangney allegedly told one of the officers while demoting him.
The search is on to find a replacement for Michael Tangney, who was just recently appointed ‘Acting’ Police Commissioner of the LBPD. At that time, City Manager Jack Schnirman said, ”A search and selection committee shall be appointed consisting of subject area experts. It is my hope and expectation that the search and selection process shall not exceed 60 days.” The City will be accepting resumes through Friday, February 17.
BEHOLD: THE SEARCH AND SELECTION COMMITTEE OF SUBJECT AREA EXPERTS: (and it’s a pretty impressive list)
Dean Lawrence Cunningham
· Associate Dean of St. John’s Law School.
· Served as Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx County District Attorney’s office as a member of the office’s Appeals Bureau.
· Former Professor for three years at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he taught criminal justice-related courses and directed a criminal litigation clinic.
· Published widely in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, animal law, appellate litigation and legal education.
John C. Gallagher
· Served on four previous Police Chief Committees across Long Island.
· Served as the Suffolk County Police Commissioner, 12th largest Police Department in the Nation, for seven years.
· Former Chief Deputy County Executive of Suffolk County
· Deputy Suffolk County Executive for Public Safety
· Board of Directors, Police Reserves of Suffolk County
· Graduate of the FBI National Academy’s Prestigious National Executive Institute.
· Executive Dean, Suffolk County Community College, Grant Campus, Professor of History and Political Science, Suffolk County Community College.
The Honorable Scott Mandel
· Long Beach resident and attorney.
· Member of the Long Beach City Council.
· Member of the Long Beach Auxiliary Police.
· Worked with the US Attorney’s Office Criminal Division and Legal Aid Criminal Defense.
· Clerked in Hudson County Criminal Court.
James E. Mulvaney Jr.
· Former Deputy Commissioner at NYS Division of Human Rights.
· Former member of Governor’s Inspector General Panel reviewing $26 Billion in federal stimulus spending for fraud, waste, abuse and civil rights violations.
· Former Director of Corporate Intelligence at KPMG where he designed a variety of compliance programs for public and private sector clients.
· Long time Long Beach resident, active in education issues and community organizing.
· Masters of Science in Administration of Security and Criminal Justice.
· Former Director of Security at Long Beach Medical Center working extensively with the Long Beach Police Department.
· Former member of the Long Beach Zoning Board for 13 years and Member of the NAACP.
· Long time Long Beach resident serving as former Vice Chair of the MLK Board and formed the Minority Coalition in Long Beach.
Glen L. Spiritis PhD
· Former Deputy & City Manager, City of Long Beach
· Former Commissioner of Community Development, Village of Hempstead
· Former Senior Staff Member, American Planning Association, Washington DC
· Former President of Long Island Community Development Organization
· Former Vice President of New York State Urban Council
· Former School Teacher, Long Beach Public Schools
· Former Adjunct Faculty Member, Adelphi University Graduate School, Suburban Studies
· Former Member Nassau County Traffic Board
· Former Member Nassau County Economic Development Board
· MS & PhD- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Urban & Environmental Science
(Some cash seized in the LBPD Raid, perhaps it can help with payroll)
The comments section is already a buzz about the fact that Long Beach is broke and has to now borrow money just to make payroll. It strains credulity to think that some members of the City administration did not know about this and could be at all surprised by this interruption. I’ll get into it more later, but this topic has created a lot more questions than answers, specifically about what money the City has and what money the City owes.
Thankfully, the memo includes a fairly detailed breakdown of just that. You can analyze it yourself here.
Of course, this breakdown doesn’t include the real whopper (readers may note I suck at spelling that word, sorry), which is the $1.4 million sick/vacation payout required to three members of the LBPD (including the acting commissioner).
I pointed out – as did many others – that the idea you can accrue $500,000 worth of vacation and sick time is insane. I’m happy to get just 10 vacation days (and a few sick days) a year, and if I don’t use them, I lose them. As my employee handbook states, the whole point of vacation/sick days is to de-stress you (vacation day) and help you get better (sick day). “Saving” these days, doesn’t help you or your employer, hence why in the private sector, they often don’t “carry over” to the next year, and if they do, they certainly aren’t allowed to add-up to these astronomical levels.
The Long Beach Herald has a whopper of a story before the holiday season. It seems Scrooge has come to Long Beach, and without emergency action, Long Beach can’t make payroll on December 23rd. Meaning that, Long Beach’s workers won’t get paid two days before Christmas.
Of course, in the leaked menu obtained by the Herald, City Manager Theofan and the comptroller are frantically working to borrow money – over $1 to cover the shortfall. An emergency City Council meeting will be held on November 30th to approve the Long Beach “bailout.”
It’s interesting that for month’s we’ve heard about the fiscal health of Long Beach, yet when push comes to shove, we can’t pay our bills and seemingly have known we wouldn’t be able to for as many months.
City Manger Theofan explained that it was all Irene’s fault because of the overtime the City racked up, and FEMA hasn’t paid up yet. How is this a surprise and why weren’t residents aware of this earlier.
The other whopper to come out of this memo is that while resigning acting police commissioner Sofield Senior will not be getting a golden parachute. But his accumulated sick and vacation time add up to 500k. And he wants it within 60 days. And here I am getting excited about my 10 vacation days a year that are use or lose…
The plan the City Manager has floated is to borrow $1.5 million to cover the payroll shortfall of $1.4 million (are we already assuming the estimated shortfall is larger than $1.3 million?). If my math is right, the City only has $100,000 to pay the $1.3 million bill. Much later after all the obfuscation about Irene, the crux of the matter comes up, and that’s these unbudgeted payouts. The memo says these payments total to a monstrous $1.4 million for the three employees, making any Irene-incurred overtime seem like just a drop in the bucket.
(The weapons on display, Newsday has a better image)
UPDATE: Additional photo below
Newsday has an unbelievable story from election day. Not the Democratic Party’s sweep of the City Council, but allegations of voter intimidation by a detective in the Long Beach Police Department. Read the whole story here
As Newsday says:
Ruth Bernstein, a local Democratic lawyer who was monitoring the polling site for the party in the early evening last Tuesday, said she considered the appearance of Det. Sgt. Howard Domitz, holding a long gun in each hand, an “intimidation” effort aimed at driving away minority voters.
As you can see in the above picture, the event absolutely happened, but the details are far more complicated. It seems the guns were actually “a pellet rifle and a disabled shotgun” recovered from the West End raid. Further, the City argues the guns were on public display for “less than two minutes.”
City Manager Charles Theofan said when asked by Newsday that “It was probably not a good idea to do that on a busy day with people around.”
Lt. James Canner, the LB chief of detectives, wrote that “No one was reprimanded because this is the course of normal business around a Police station.”
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is actively investigating the complaint, but declined to say more.
So what do we have here? A situation where the property room was just so over-following with weapons, that a detective decided to bring them out to his boss, who was outside in front of City Hall, which is also police HQ, and a polling place, on election day to ask “what do I do with them?”
A detective managing the property room’s inventory? I’m not even sure what kind of question “what do I do with them” is. They were evidence of the loan-sharking and drugs raid from the previous week. Shouldn’t they just stay sitting in the property? Why wouldn’t you call your boss to the property room to answer a question like that? Of course, all speculation.
Sounds more like a case of “oh check out these cool toys we got.” That qualifies this as an instance of the worst possible judgment to have on election day, or as I call it, “bozo the clown” syndrome.
There’s of course the subject of this complaint which alleges voter intimidation. Ms. Bernstein argues they were brandishing the weapons outside City Hall to basically scare off minority voters. Now if something like that was actually the intent, we’re dealing with some very nasty Jim Crow style voter intimidation.
So what do you think: was Bozo the Clown or Jim Crow out front of City Hall on election day?
Another reader sent in this photo (I love camera phones):
After finally getting a response from City Hall and receiving 26 pages of documents related to the Quiksilver Pro, I talked about how much the City netted here. (Hint: Less than they originally told you)
When City Manger Theofan said that the City made “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” what he was really referring to was the fees the City charged Quiksilver for police, fire, sanitation, beach maintenance, lifeguards, and street maintenance. The total for these fees were pegged at $124,924. This was a projected estimate the City made for Quiksilver and required that they prepaid. Quiksilver delivered the check to the City on September 2nd. Again, this check for $124,924 is not profit for the City, but simply an offset for services rendered.
The breakdown on the fees the City charged are interesting in that they conclude maintaining a few block area in Long Beach during a large event for 9 days (two weekends and five weekdays) costs $125,000. The vast majority of these fees – 63% – went directly to fund the LBPD’s manpower.
The base overtime rates were as follows: Lt – 114/hr, D/Sgt -$109/hr, Sgt – $99/hr, Det $96/hr, PO $81/hr.
It’s certainly interesting that all police required for the event were by default, considered overtime. Further to spell out what the above rates means, they should refer to the cost of having that cop on site per hour. That would include his pay (with benefits), and everything else that goes into what it takes to supply an officer. It shouldn’t strictly translate into how much each officer brings home at the end of the day, but does explain how expensive it is to keep a police force running.
What also is odd is how the money went around per day. On Labor Day, Monday September 5th, the City charged $13,378 for 142 hours, but then the next Sunday they charged only $5,040 for 60 hours to control the same stretch of beach. Obviously one was a holiday the other wasn’t – but they could both be called “weekends.” What the City was billing for was strictly additional manpower to support the event. Remember these were projected costs before the event, and did not take into account what days the competition would be occurring. The billed overtime hours are shocking in how variable they were planned to be, with only the weekdays consistent around $6,5000 per day for 78 hours..
We also received some 8 pages of insurance info that is pretty standard and boring. All that’s really here is the City required Quiksilver to have a big insurance policy, and Quiksilver followed up and did that.
These documents leave a lot of questions unanswered. Specifically, a $100,000 bond was required to be put up by Quiksilver to cover any additional fees incurred by the City. There is no documentation whether the projected 125,000k was too much, too little, or just right. With this many “estimates” and “guesses” I find it extremely unlikely that the City got it just right (which would be an incredible achievement by anyone), and I’m curious if the City had to give money back or was required to bill for additional fees.
There is also the mystery of the third check. This check for $3,984 was dated August 26th – two days before Irene hit – and includes no explanation as to what it is for.
Update: The Herald has confirmed this check is for a generator permit
Residents requested all documents related to the Quiksilver Pro. These 26 pages are all we got. From them we can conclude only two things. The City netted about $27k from the event, and charged Quiksilver 125K to support the event through City services.
Below I’ve posted the remainder of the 26 pages we received from City Hall, the rest of the docs are here
Today, the LBPD confirmed more arrests related to the boardwalk beating, and further confirmed that some of those arrested for the attack and robbery on the 17th were also involved in the beating on the 19th.
So, that total number of arrests is up to eight, good job LBPD. Hopefully, these arrests and the strong response from the LBPD well put a stop to this outbreak of violence.
In an interesting addition, the LB Police Commissioner Sofield Senior said that “plans are in the works to create a system in which cameras will monitor the entire boardwalk 24 hours, seven days a week.”
“This video monitoring system will not replace but enhance all the measures that are currently in place to protect our citizens and visitors on the boardwalk.”
That caught me completely by surprise. Obviously, I’ve been a huge advocate of an increased police presence on the boardwalk (I was thrilled when I saw stepped-up patrols), but I don’t think cameras are the way to go.
I’m not necessarily worried about the Big Brother privacy angle of cameras on the boardwalk, I’m more concerned with two things more tangible issues: cost and usefulness.
First off, camera systems are really expensive, and then, someone still needs to watch the cameras for them to be at all proactive. So, you pay for the cameras, you pay for their upkeep, and then you still pay for a body to watch the cameras’ footage. You don’t save on manpower, and you certainly don’t save with all the operational costs of maintaining a system like this that will be buffeted by Nor’Easters and hurricanes year-round. Further, Sofield Senior himself says that the cameras aren’t designed to replace current security measures, so how do they really help?
The second part, and more to the issue of crime itself, is that integrated security systems have proven to be borderline useless in major cities. In Chicago for instance, a city where millions have been spent to build and integrate 10,000 cameras, over four years they only led to 4,500 arrests. “Whoa” you may say, “that’s a lot of arrests.” Well, in Chicago, 4,500 arrests equates to less than 1% of all arrests. And remember, they also say “led to arrests,” not “prevented crime.” Cameras are not crime preventers, and have a bad track record of even helping to make arrests.
Cameras may help you sleep at night, but they don’t stop crime.
My solution? What the LBPD has already figured out. One officer on a motorcycle cruising the boardwalk at night. Seemingly, when this story was hot, it was no challenge to find an officer in blue that was up to the job. They don’t even need to be there every night, all night. Occasional patrols – or keeping an officer on a short leash near the boardwalk is also a capable crime preventer. People knowing that the boardwalk is often patrolled will achieve the same effect as always patrolling it.
What do you think: Cameras or Cops?
The September 17th robbery and attack on the boardwalk was first confirmed here by City Manger Theofan after not being included in the police blotter, or in the LBPD press release that followed the September 19th beating and robbery on the boardwalk (which was issued two days after the second attack in three days).
If you look across the details of each individual, the first, Shawn Persaud, was arrested on 10/6. Then A juvenile, Nasuant Mitchel, Desmond Moore, and Eric Wiener were arrested on 10/7. Next, Jaquell McNeal of Cambia Heghts, Queens (all others are Long Beach residents) was arrested on the 10th, and then finally Vincent Moore was arrested on the 11th. You’ve got to laugh to think about what happened in the “interrogations” that happened. One alleged child-con flipped after another, and they all ratted on each other. Pretty soon everyone of their friends is going to get locked up if they keep squealing at this pace!
What’s also interesting is that some have been charged with “gang assault” while others have not.
They all sound like real upstanding citizens, and its good to see this group of kid alleged criminals is off the street. Whatever happened to spending your evenings playing sports in the street or “hanging” with friends? Aren’t 16-year-olds supposed to be hanging out at Tutti Frutti and watching Jersey Shore?
There has been zero announcement yet if these alleged criminals are related at all to the September 19th boardwalk beating which was first reported here. Of course, I would assume these kids are connected, considering they successfully jumped someone on the 17th, and then a nearly identical crime happened on the 19th.
Takeaway: Let’s hope both victims in these cases are having a speedy recovery, and the LBPD has gotten the message loud and clear. Keep the boardwalk safe! As they rightly stated in their press release, the boardwalk is the jewel of the city (though we might not treat it as such), let’s keep it that way.
I do want to send a very sincere thanks to all the SBC readers that made this such a big story. Without your comments, emails, and phone calls here and to City Hall, this sort of crime may have gone unreported and unsolved. Instead, the LBPD has taken this extremely seriously, stepped up patrols on the boardwalk (which has long been a resident demand) and has made a string of arrests. Good job, you should all pat yourselves on the back and remember that you can make a difference in your city.