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Trump Security a 'Drain' on NYPD Resources, Queens Commander Says

By Katie Honan | January 18, 2017 11:42am
 Inspector Michele Irizarry, seen here at last summer's annual night out against crime.
Inspector Michele Irizarry, seen here at last summer's annual night out against crime.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

JACKSON HEIGHTS — The NYPD security detail for President-elect Donald Trump is a "drain" on the 115th Precinct, which is already stretched thin, its precinct commander said Tuesday.

Officers are being pulled out of the precinct and into Manhattan to serve on Trump's special detail every day — influencing their ability to respond to local crimes, Inspector Michele Irizarry said.

"Of course it affects us, it affects the resources we are able to put out in the 115," Irizarry told residents at the monthly meeting for the precinct — which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and North Corona. She added that the precinct also has to send officers to staff LaGuardia Airport — the temporary home of the president-elect's private jet. 

"We may be affected more so than other precincts because we have LaGuardia, and that is where Trump's plane for the time being is," she said. "Yes, it is a drain on our resources."

For example, she said, on Thursday, officers from her precinct will be pulled to assist with a brief presidential motorcade as President-elect Trump travels to Washington D.C, she said.  

A City Council hearing last week, elected officials expressed concern over the massive security coverage at Trump Tower, and its effect on local communities

Deputy Chief James Kehoe said there wasn't any evidence yet of crime increasing due to cops being pulled away from precincts. But elected officials pressed him on the issue.

“I would assume if there are 100 officers who are normally staffed at a precinct, now there are 70 officers every day, you wouldn’t say that you’re taking away from community policing?” Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents parts of southeastern Queens, asked. 

Irizarry didn't say if less officers was resulting in a spike in crimes — but said they're going to continue to work hard even with limited resources. 

"It is tough, and the whole concept of doing more with less — we've got that down to a science because we're definitely doing a lot more with less," she said. 

She added that everything from the enforcement of dangerous and reckless driving to officers' ability to respond to emergencies is influenced by the reduced manpower.

The massive NYPD presence around Trump Tower is costing the city millions of dollars, which has yet to be reimbursed by the federal government, to the alarm of Mayor Bill de Blasio and local elected officials.

While the 115th Precinct recently received seven new officers from the academy, at least five are leaving due to promotions or transfers, she said. 

The NYPD generally assigns new graduates to precincts with the highest crime, and the 115th Precinct is one of only three in Queens North to receive new officers. 

The two other precincts — the 114th and the 109th — only have new officers because they have Neighborhood Coordinating Officers, the new community policing initiative from the NYPD, she said. 

Moving forward, Irizzary didn't anticipate they would get many more officers from incoming academy classes. The precinct has been receiving graduates from every other class, she said. 

With Trump's presence in the city, she said the NYPD will likely have to shift new officers into Manhattan.

"I imagine they're going to get more officers because they know they're standing right there and will be in front of Trump Tower," she said. 

Crime in the 115th Precinct was up 4.9 percent in 2016, with the largest spike in car thefts, records show.