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Neighborhood Policing to Reform Nightlife Enforcement on Lower East Side

By Allegra Hobbs | October 4, 2017 3:57pm
 Deputy Inspector Steve Hellman introduces the 7th Precinct's newly launched NCO program.
Deputy Inspector Steve Hellman introduces the 7th Precinct's newly launched NCO program.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

LOWER EAST SIDE — The introduction of the NYPD's neighborhood-policing initiative on the Lower East Side will change the enforcement of nightlife in the bar-heavy neighborhood, officials said.

Under the department's highly touted community policing initiative, two Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) assigned to a swath of the 7th Precinct will, along with a dozen "steady sector" officers beneath them, handle all issues in that area — including conflict between residents and bars.

This marks a departure from the previous "specialized" approach to policing neighborhoods, noted the NYPD's Chief of Patrol Terence Monohan, who came to Gouverneur Hospital Monday night to introduce the program to Lower East Siders.

"I know we had a lot of cops that did steady bar conditions — we want to have the cops that have each sector take that responsibility for that sector, be able to handle everything that goes on in that sector, so they're not specialists," he said.

While the NYPD had previously assigned officers to specific beats like street narcotics, rather than geographic areas, the new program takes a more general approach by assigning a group of officers capable of handling all issues within a certain area. 

Most notably in the 7th Precinct, the officers assigned to a sector containing a heavy concentration of bars and nightlife will take over the role previously held by the precinct's cabaret unit. That unit included a sergeant and five police officers overseeing nightlife issues.

The precinct, bordered by Pike and Allen streets to the west, East Houston Street to the north and the East River to the east, is now divided into three sectors under the new initiative.

Sector Adam begins at the East River to the south and goes up to East Broadway and Grand Street, giving way to Sector Boy, which continues up to Delancey Street.

Sector Charlie covers the span between Delancey and East Houston streets, including the bar-heavy blocks bordered by Broome, Clinton, Houston and Allen streets.

"It's very important that we get into the community," said police officer Blair Fauntleroy, who will handle Sector Charlie with fellow NCO Erica Rivera. "We want to know the people who live here, [not just] the people who come here to drink, have a good time in Sector Charlie."

Two NCOs are assigned to each sector to serve as point people for community concerns, with those officers routinely patrolling their sectors, attending neighborhood meetings and getting to know the residents. 

Locals can see the new sectors below and can find the names and contact information of the NCOs assigned to their sector here.

The 7th Precinct is now divided into three sectors under the new NCO program. (DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs)

Additionally, a dozen "steady sector" officers will work within each sector under their respective NCOs, patrolling the neighborhood by car in their assigned shifts.

Each set of officers will consistently work the same daily shifts so residents can count on seeing the same faces at certain times of day, Monohan said.

The program was launched to help mend fraught community-police relations after the chokehold death of Eric Garner by police on Staten Island and fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led to a wave of protests against aggressive law-enforcement tactics.

NCO officers go through the same criminal investigation course as every detective in the NYPD, plus an additional NCO training course and a four-day mediation course, where they learn conflict resolution and active listening.