March 6, By Hannah Wulkan
The Queens District Attorney presented the NYPD with more than $20 million in forfeiture funds today to implement a new community policing program and to upgrade equipment throughout the borough.
The funds, totaling $20.4 million, will be used to implement a new method of neighborhood policing across all 16 precincts in Queens, Brown announced, as well as to better equip cops in every precinct.
The neighborhood policing program will divide each precinct in to sectors that are patrolled by the same Neighborhood Coordination Officers every day to increase familiarity and foster trust between community members and their regular police officers.
“In essence, it heralds the return of a familiar figure – the cop on the beat who knows the people and the community he or she serves,” Brown said of the neighborhood policing program, which has already launched in several precincts including the 114th last fall.
“By forging closer, more meaningful relationships with local business owners, community advocates, religious leaders and residents, it is hoped that a line of dialogue can be opened up between the police and the communities that will result in mutual understanding and an easing of the tension and mistrust that ofttimes exists between the police and many of the communities they protect,” he added.
Neighborhoods that have already implemented the NCO program have also shown a 10.6 percent faster response time due to the extra personnel on patrol.
The funding for these new initiatives comes from a 2012 agreement with HSBC Holdings, which was caught laundering money and violating sanctions. As part of the prosecution agreement, the group agreed to forfeit $1.26 billion, part of which was allocated to Brown for helping develop the case against HSBC. He received an award of $116 million to use towards law enforcement purposes, and allocated a portion to the Queens NYPD.
“The $20 million Judge Brown has allocated for this department will be an important investment in neighborhood policing, our crime fighting strategy. This forfeiture funding will provide our cops with essential tools – like vehicles, technology, and training – they need to do their job,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.
The largest sum of money, just over $11 million, will be spent on about 264 new vehicles to assist with the neighborhood policing. The NYPD will also allocate $2.7 million toward tablets to assist with communication within the department, and various other tools needed for up-to-date policing.
The money will also be used to enhance training initiatives at the police academy and upgrade equipment in every precinct, such as spending $1.6 million on 19,000 new gun holsters that have automated locking systems, making them safer and more secure than the current standard-issue holsters.