The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Bronx Police Commander Denies NYPD Slowdown Day Before Bratton Confirms It

By Eddie Small | January 9, 2015 6:58pm | Updated on January 12, 2015 8:38am
 Deputy Inspector Martine Materasso disputed reports of an NYPD slowdown at Thursday's community council meeting.
Deputy Inspector Martine Materasso disputed reports of an NYPD slowdown at Thursday's community council meeting.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Eddie Small

LONGWOOD — The commanding officer of The Bronx’s 41st Precinct denied reports of an NYPD slowdown one day before Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told NPR that it was occurring.

"There is no slowdown going on, not here, not anywhere," Deputy Inspector Martine Materasso said at a Thursday night meeting. "The officers every day are out there. They are out there thin. They are spread thin, I'm telling you."

However, in an interview on Friday with NPR, Bratton said that police were "coming out of what was a pretty widespread stoppage of certain types of activity" and that officials were taking steps to figure out where and when this was occurring.

The 41st Precinct is not one of those places despite a 22 percent drop in arrests compared to the same period last year, according to Materasso.

Neighborhood crime had declined, she told Thursday night's community council meeting, and said there were fewer police assigned to the precinct to write tickets.

The precinct lost about 30 officers in 2014 thanks to factors like promotions and a greater need for police in other parts of the city that saw spikes in violence, going from approximately 50 to 20 officers, Materasso said.

"The 41 has lost a lot of cops throughout the year," she said, "so you’re going to see a pattern, almost, of the arrests decreasing, sometimes a lot."

Materasso also pointed to a roughly 20 percent increase in moving summonses over the past 28 days going back from Sunday as evidence that officers in the 41st Precinct were still doing their jobs, despite the smaller amount of police.

Although stressing that she did not focus as much on citywide statistics, she said a decline in police activity across the five boroughs could be attributed to several possible factors, such as a decrease in crime that comes with colder weather or the amount of officers pulled off regular duty to deal with the city's recent spate of protests.

Rafael Salamanca, president of the 41st Precinct Community Council, said he had not noticed or heard about a significant drop in activity among his local police.

"The weather has been very cold, so I've been indoors a lot, but I see the officers," he said. "I see them patrolling the streets. I see traffic enforcers giving tickets."

However, Robert Gangi, director of Police Reform Organizing Project, said he was skeptical of the deputy inspector's explanation, noting that New York experiences cold winters every year and that it has been a while since a major protest occurred.

"The numbers are just undeniable," he said. "That doesn’t happen because of a cold snap or protests, which have essentially not been happening for the last two weeks."

Captain Steven Ortiz, who commands the neighboring 42nd Precinct, maintained that there had not been a slowdown in his precinct despite Bratton's comments.

"As far as we're concerned, there is no slowdown," he said.

Although his precinct has seen a decrease in arrests over the past 28 days going back from Sunday compared to last year, dropping from 194 to 114, he also said this was due to losing officers to citywide protests and a significant drop in neighborhood crime over the same time period.

"You can’t continue making additional collars when the crime is not happening," he said.