The NCO program, orchestrated by the NYPD, divides precincts into several sectors and assigns a pair of NCOs to each. The officers familiarize themselves with residents and the communities they’re assigned to.
They serve as liaisons between the police and the community, in addition to fighting crime, problem solving, following up on previous incidents and attending community meetings.
At a recent Queens Borough Board meeting, representatives from Patrol Borough Queens South announced that there weren’t plans for Forest Park to have a NCO.
“It was upsetting to us because Forest Park is such an important part of the 102nd Precinct,” said MK Moore, president of Friends of Forest Park. “In the last year, we have worked very closely with the 102nd Precinct to get some heavy enforcement in the park, and we’ve seen the benefit of that with the park becoming more family-friendly.”
After the announcement, Moore wrote to Assistant Chief David Barrere, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, to consider adding an NCO to Forest Park.
“The Parks Department has permanently assigned an officer for a once-a-day drive-through, but Parks doesn’t have the finances or the manpower to provide the level of enforcement that we need in the park,” Moore said.
Less than two months ago, crooks broke into 20 cars parked along Forest Park.
Safety improvements being made to the park include adding security cameras as well as the presence of an all-terrain vehicle.
“There are thousands of people in Forest Park everyday, whether they’re walking, jogging, biking or hiking,” Moore said. “Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a uniformed police officer walking through the park?
“They could have his phone number, he can give them his email,” Moore continued. “That level of personal contact and attention in the park is something we desperately need.”
Though the NCO program is usually based in neighborhoods, Resorts World Casino and Aqueduct Race Track in the 106th Precinct were given a pair of NCOs last year. Moore argued that if the casino can get the officers, Forest Park should too.
“The casino got NCOs, and they have more money than God over there,” he said. “We need our own NCO at Forest Park.”
Captain Courtney Nilan, commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, has voiced a desire to add NCOs to Forest Park in the past.
“I think the NCO would be the crown that will really cap the enforcement in our park,” Moore said. “With the right pressure, we can get this pushed through.”