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Queens Precincts Getting $20M in New Cars and Gear From DA Settlement Funds

By Katie Honan | March 6, 2017 4:39pm
 DA Richard Brown hands over a more than $20 million check to Commissioner James O'Neill at a ceremony at the police academy.
DA Richard Brown hands over a more than $20 million check to Commissioner James O'Neill at a ceremony at the police academy.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

QUEENS — The borough's precincts will receive new cars, flashlights, defibrillators, training and table​ts thanks to $20 million in settlement funds from the Queens District Attorney's office — the largest federal asset forfeiture in the office's history.

The $20,391,864 came out of the historic 2012 HSBC Holdings agreement, a narcotics and money laundering scheme out of Mexico that resulted in a $1.9 billion settlement to the United States. 

The Queens DA played a "significant role" in the case against HSBC and received a share of $116 million in settlements, officials said.

District Attorney Richard Brown handed over a portion of the check to Commissioner James O'Neill on Monday at the police academy. 

It will be used to fund the borough's new neighborhood policing efforts, which Brown said "will go a long way in helping to enhance overall policing strategies and police/community relations while optimizing officer and public safety."

The majority of the money — more than $11 million — will be used to buy 264 new vehicles for precincts to use in the new Neighborhood Policing model.

Recruits at the academy will receive new tablets for training materials with $2.7 million of the settlement. New defibrillators will be picked up with nearly $2 million, and upgraded gun holsters — which will be more secure than current holsters — will be purchased with more than $1.6 million.

Another $1.58 million will be used for new flashlights for every officer.

The rest of the money will be used for new training mats, mannequins, driver trainer simulators, license plate readers, leadership training, a maintenance contract for equipment upgrades, and more. 

"This forfeiture funding will provide our cops with essential tools — like vehicles, technology, and training — they need to do their job," O'Neill said.