by Joe Borelli on Jul 02, 2021 Featured

By Joseph Ostapiuk | jostapiuk@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Island elected officials are calling on the city to vow 85 NYPD officers be assigned to the borough from the department’s next graduating class after not a single recently-graduated recruit was set aside for the Island.

A bi-partisan group of elected officials penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Wednesday calling for 75 recruits from the next NYPD class to be placed in the Island’s four precincts with another 10 assigned to the Staten Island Ferry command.

The letter comes as 16 cops, along with two sergeants, from the borough’s precincts were reportedly assigned to Manhattan in the wake of multiple Times Square shootings in recent months, the elected officials said.

“While we understand that the situation shows a need for additional police officers, we can’t help but to express concern that these resources are being taken from Staten Island,” the letter reads, adding that certain crimes — including shooting incidents — are rising on the borough similarly to the rest of the city.

Through June 27, NYPD data shows that shooting incidents are up 33.3% on Staten Island year-to-date, rising from 15 during the same span in 2020 to 20 so far this year. Law enforcement officials have noted that many of those incidents were the byproduct of gang violence

Major index crime, both citywide and on Staten Island, have dipped year-to-date compared to 2020′s totals.

However, the NYPD’s citywide “clearance rate,” the term used to quantify the number of crimes solved, was considerably lower in all four quarters of 2020 compared to both 2019 and 2018 totals, data shows. Experts said that a confluence of factors contributed to the dip during an unprecedented year.

Members of both political parties on Staten Island, representing districts from the North to South shores, signed on to the letter.

Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R-South Shore), Borough President James Oddo (R), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn), state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore), state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn), Assemblyman Mike Tannousis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn), Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island), Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore), Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) and Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore) are all listed as co-signers.

In addition to officers being siphoned from the borough’s precincts, the most recent NYPD class of recruits — which graduated from Madison Square Garden last week — had no officers sent to Staten Island, the letter claimed.

“To add further insult, Staten Island did not receive a single recruit from the recent NYPD Police Academy class,” continued the letter. “This is wholly unacceptable.”

In response, a NYPD spokesperson said: “We appreciate Assemblyman Reilly’s concerns and will answer his letter with a detailed response. For context, most of our newest officers were deployed to backfill precincts and NYCHA Police Service Areas that have experienced the largest numbers of shootings and other violent crimes and have reduced numbers of officers due to attrition. That said, our deployment plans in Staten Island include focusing officers in violent hotspots, strategically using overtime to increase presence at specific times and monitoring crime trends in real time to make adjustments.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond for a request to comment.

“With crime rates on Staten Island trending upwards, similar to those in other boroughs, it is concerning that these resources and manpower are being taken away from one community to cover gaps in another,” Reilly wrote on Twitter. “But regardless of how those gaps were caused, my colleagues and I agree that it is a shortsighted decision that endangers the safety of all Staten Islanders.”