Earlier this week, Community Board 3’s public safety committee unanimously approved a proposal from the LES Business Improvement District to hire off-duty cops for beefed up nightlife enforcement. The full board will decide whether to endorse the committee’s recommendation at its monthly meeting, November 23rd.
Bob Zuckerman, the BID’s executive director, told me yesterday the proposal is not a reflection of the effectiveness of the 7th Precinct in dealing with nightlife issues. Instead, he said, the supplementary security officers would provide an added service to bar owners and neighbors, who have increasingly found themselves at odds over late night noise noise and unruly crowds.
Assuming CB3 signs off later this month, the BID will make a formal presentation to the NYPD. Zuckerman said he’s already had preliminary conversations with Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry, the 7th Precinct’s commanding officer. The idea would be to give the program a 2-3 month trial run to find out whether it’s effective.
The patrols would be confined to the business improvement district, which runs along Orchard Street, below Houston, as well as portions of Delancey, Grand, Rivington, Broome and Hester streets. If the experiment is successful, the BID would have to figure out how to pay for the extra security long-term.
In the past, some bar owners and community board members have lamented the NYPD’s decision to disband dedicated nightlife units in many precincts, including those on the Lower East Side. Commander Barry has said the units weren’t actually eliminated, but reconfigured to more effectively deal with a wide variety of quality of life matters.
If the police department okays the proposal, the off-duty cops could begin patrolling the streets by next spring.