Ulrich requests additional police presence at Aqueduct
by Lisa A. Fraser
May 31, 2011 | 2194 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
with the new Aqueduct racino set to open its doors by the end of summer, Councilman Eric Ulrich is planning ahead.

Last week, he asked Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to assign additional police officers to the 106th Precinct in advance of the planned September opening.

Ulrich is taking advantage of the fact that this July a class of 1,400 cadets will graduate from the Police Academy. He is also asking that the additional cops be assigned to the Precinct two months in advance, so they can get to know the community before the influx of visitors.

“We can’t afford to wait until those cops graduate,” Ulrich told residents at May’s Ozone Park Civic Association meeting. “We are going to need additional police personnel in this community, not only to respond to crimes, but to help with the traffic flow and to maintain our quality of life.”

Ulrich called his request, “more than reasonable.”

“Despite the fact that vehicular and foot traffic will increase, it still remains unclear if and when the local precinct will receive additional police personnel,” he wrote in the letter to Kelly. “I believe this request is warranted given the size and scope of the new venue and the necessary planning that will go into maintaining a good quality of life for area residents.”

But with current staffing levels down at precincts, particularly the

106th, where there are 60 to 70 less officers than there were a decade ago, not everyone is so sure that the area will receive a greater police presence before the racino opens.

“I doubt we’ll get them before,” said Howie Kamph, president of the Ozone Park Civic Association. “I hope they give it to us, but I think they’ll play the wait-and-see game.”

Kamph said that he applauds Ulrich for making the effort. “He’s doing the right thing about it,” he said.

The new racino is expected to draw more than eight million visitors each year, and local residents and Community Board 10 have already expressed concerns about the current staffing levels at the local precinct.

“We know that budget cuts are large, but at the same time we have a racetrack that’s going to be opening in this community with 30,000 people who will be coming in and out all hours of the day and night,” Ulrich said. “We need more cops now, imagine when 30,000 people are passing through.”

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