Battery Park City to get ‘peace officers’


In response to local civic honchos, the Battery Park City Authority plans to have some of its security guards deputized by the NYPD with the authority to issue summonses and haul scoundrels off to jail.

The Battery Park City Authority plans to have some of its security “ambassadors” deputized as peace officers by the NYPD, so they can issue summonses and make arrests, rather than simply report miscreants to 911.
File photo by Milo Hess

Community Board 1’s BPC Committee complained at a Jan. 3 meeting that the neighborhood’s current security force — which the Battery Park City Authority contracts through Allied Universal Security Services — aren’t capable of handling crime on the mean streets of the idyllic waterfront neighborhood.

“Allied has no teeth to say ‘Move, or we’ll have you arrested,’ ” griped committee chairwoman Tammy Meltzer.

The BPC committee voted unanimously at Wednesday’s meeting to draft a resolution demanding the BPCA have three “peace officers,” on duty within the 92-acre planned community at all times.

The BPCA has confirmed that it hopes to have a pilot program of Allied Universal peace officers in up and running for the summer, but the timeline will mostly depend on how quickly the NYPD moves to license them.

The head of Allied Universal BPC detail, Patrick Murphy, is a retired police detective and will likely be the first one deputized.

The peace officers would be issued badges through the NYPD and be required to complete a training program organized by Allied Universal before hitting the streets with their new powers.

The committee expects the peace officers to fill a void left by the city’s Park Enforcement Patrol — whose officers are also empowered to arrest — that policed green spaces in Battery Park City until 2015, when the BPCA made the controversial decision to axe the PEP officers in favor of Allied’s security “ambassadors,” which are currently only empowered to call 911, Meltzer said.

“We don’t have PEP officers. BPCA made the decision they don’t want to renew their contract with the city, so what we’re trying to do is work within the system we have, to improve what we have.”

Although Battery Park City technically falls under the auspices of the state, not the city, officers from the First Precinct do patrol the neighborhood in addition to the Allied’s security guards, and real estate websites consistently list the community as among the safest in all five boroughs.

But while New York’s Finest do a great job responding to major crimes, such as the terrorist attack on Halloween, they’re less quick to address quality-of-life issues like homelessness and vandalism, according to one committee member.

“They don’t stop,” said Justine Cuccia. “They don’t do anything.”

The city’s rules would require anyone arrested by a private cop in Battery Park City to be immediately taken to either the First Precinct, or Central Booking at 100 Centre St., meaning the BPCA isn’t likely to build it’s own holding facility.

Peace officers can be registered to carry firearms while on duty, but the BPCA wouldn’t arm its new peace officers with guns, according to spokesman Nick Sbordone, who said it was too early to tell whether the privatized policemen would be equipped with less-than-lethal weapons, such as mace, stun guns, or batons — but he conformed the intention to have some empowered to make arrests.

“The intention on bringing Allied in was to eventually get to the point where they could fill that same role [as PEPs],” said Sbordone.

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