Captain Roy Kaplan, commanding officer of Transit District 23, told members of the 106th Precinct Community Council at their meeting last week that once the casino opens he will be directing his resources to the local train stations and the surrounding area.
Kaplan said he would work hand in hand with 106th Precinct commanding officer Captain Thomas Pascale to coordinate security at the South Ozone Park casino.
He said that currently the busiest station near the soon-to-be opened casino is the Aqueduct/North Conduit station, since most people now use it to commute to Manhattan.
However, when the casino opens, the seldom-used Aqueduct Racetrack station, which will be linked to the casino by a skyway bridge, will be used by casino patrons arriving by train.
Kaplan said he will have officers at the Aqueduct Racetrack station around the clock, and especially during the hours that the casino is open - from 8 to 4 a.m. - to insure safety.
The captain said he will also have extra patrols on the trains going in - and especially out - of the Aqueduct station since some passengers may have consumed too much alcohol and may fall prey to criminals looking to steal their valuables as they sleep.
The MTA technically considers the Aqueduct Racetrack station a part of the Aqueduct-North Conduit Avenue station, which is one block south. A small passageway connects the two stations. The Aqueduct Racetrack station is currently only open for Manhattan-bound A trains.
In response to a question from a resident about whether additional officers were being assigned from One Police Plaza to Transit District 23, Kaplan said that currently no additional police officers are expected to be assigned from police headquarters. However, he said he will request to retain some of the officers that were assigned to him for the summer detail for Rockaway. He said that after the beach season ends, focus will shift to the casino.
“Even if I don’t get any more police officers in District 23, I can reassure you that the officers that I have will be redeployed to take on this new concern that we will have at the casino,” said Kaplan.