NCO Summer Safety Meeting – Flatbush District D

NCO Summer Safety Meeting – Flatbush District D

FLATBUSH — Like much of the community related machinery (Community Board, Neighborhood Association meetings,) the Precinct Community Council takes a break for the summer.   Some residents feel the police precinct meetings are one event that should not break then.   As life heats up in the summer, connections to the NYPD are needed the most.

So it is with genuine excitement for some of us to learn of these “Safety Meetings” happening in each sector of the NCO areas in the 70th Precinct.  A smaller venue, with the Officers that literally focus on your neighborhood, can be more intimate and valuable than looking to compete with all the problems in the 168,000 person 70th precinct.

NCO Sean Callendar with his partner Junior Sesay are in charge of Sector D (Nathan Thompson / BKLYNER)

The meeting is supervised by Sargent Blain who is in charge of the NCO program at the Precinct.  But this week the mic is held by NCO Sean Callender who, with his partner PO Junior Sesay is in charge of Sector D.  They are the most common faces we see in the area around St Pauls Church, where the meeting took place.

After a very quick introduction of a few representatives, Callender hands the mic around for each Officer to introduce him/herself and then starts taking questions.   This is the part we wait for through the politicians speaking and various public servants “checking in” at PCC meetings, so we can get to the security issues that bring us to these meetings.

This summer check-in with the community program is part of the new NCO program and the crowd appreciated it. The conversation ranged from updates on two shootings (people are in custody in both cases), phone snatchings, to people not cleaning up after dogs.

In each case, because it was so intimate, and because the issues were focused on such a limited area, people connected with every question or comment.  And Callender or Sesay spoke on every single issue.

A woman commented that she lives by the Caton exit of the Church Avenue station and feels that she sees more NYPD representation on the East 18th st side.  The Officers wrote it down.  The same Officers who will be doing routes on that block.  There was no sense that this comment was going in a box that competes with the whole precinct.

The alley next to the Caton exit was brought up a couple of times.  The swipers at the entrance of the East 18th, and the hanger outers there, came up.  People not cleaning after their dogs came up again and again.

At one point CB14s Shawn Campbell asked Officer Callendar to clarify why it is so hard to write tickets for not cleaning up after dogs.  She explained that this is a reoccurring issue in CB14 meetings.  Callendar responded “Because I have to see it happen.  And who is going to do that in front of me.”   Blogger Duane Joseph asked for clarification.  “I understand that you have to see the person fail to clean up after the dog yourself” said Joseph. “But I also heard that not even a video will get them ticketed.”  “That is correct” responded Callendar.  “I hear of a lot of uses for those videos, but I can’t write a ticket based on one.”  The crowd groaned.

Storeowners from Ocean and Caton were there, both thanking specific Officers for helping them clear out trouble.  “Look at that man over there, that Officer Batson, he and his partner have really saved me and I want to tell you.” Batson has been around Church Avenue for more than a decade.  The room knows him and applauded.

Candidates for City Council were at the meeting, but they were there to listen, not talk.  It was appreciated.  Incumbent Matheiu Eugene came and told a story about his funding some basketballs for the Church we were in.  But other than that, it was all police business.   And there was a point where the crowd was actually all out of things to bring up.  There was one overall comment that we all needed to figure out how to get the word out about how valuable these summer meetings are.

A few people brought up changes to the FTAP program.  The complaint is people who don’t live in a building hanging out there.  Officer Sesay took the mic and explained that a few years ago, when they did FTAP vertical patrols, they could arrest someone who had no business in the building.   Legislation has been passed so that now the Officer must ask the person to leave the building, multiple times before making an arrest.  For some, this is like catching a person breaking in and having to warn them not to come back.

A woman in the back spoke loudly without a mic.  Complementing the work Callendar had done in her building, she said “I think this (NCO) program is the best thing the NYPD has done, and I will fight it ever being taken away.”  The room agreed.

Since the meeting was so focused, it ended on time and several people stayed around further connecting with the Officers and bending their ears about less public issues.   And also dog poop.  Be sure to check here for listings of the NCO meeting in your neighborhood.   It can’t get more personal than this.


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