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CB 12 pressures police for more polite patrols

TimesLedger Newspapers

Community Board 12 members last week took a crime update as an opportunity tell the 103rd Precinct they were unhappy with the way some of its officers conduct themselves.

After Special Operations Lt. Frank Letterese said he was pleased by a 50 percent decrease in shootings compared to last year, board member Florence Johnson said she was disparaged by an officer when she inquired as to why he and others had stopped a youth.

“The response I got from the officer was, ‘Are these your kids? If not, then it’s not your business,’ in a very nasty, negative way,” she said. “They’re not my kids. I didn’t give birth to them — that’s right — but this is my neighborhood and I’m concerned.

“Even if he couldn’t tell me what happened, he could have told me in a way that was more respectful,” she added. “If we’re going to have police in our communities, which we need, and the police expect us to respect them because they’re police, then we expect them to respect us because we’re the citizens they’re supposed to protect and serve.”

Bishop Melvin Artis, also a board member, said he thought officers were particularly disrespectful to members of the clergy.

Community Affairs Officer Mark Costa said the precinct has an ongoing program that introduces impact officers — new academy graduates assigned to high-crime areas — to clergy members.

“It’s been positive and it’s been ongoing we’ve been doing it for quite some time now and we’ve had some positive results,” he said.

Costa said he has also seen positive results from a program that has officers meet with community groups to role play certain interactions people may have with the police.

He said should someone have a complaint about an officer’s conduct, they can call 311, fill out a complaint at the precinct or contact the Civilian Complaint Review Board and said it is best to deal with conflicts after the fact.

“If they are having an encounter with an officer, just comply,” he said. “If you want to make a complaint, do it after the incident.”

Community activist Kevin Livingston asked what the precinct was doing to get ahead of gun violence to prevent another “Bloody Summer,” such as the one experienced last year when gun violence surged. Letterese said anyone who knows of an illegal gun can contact his office at 718-657-8855.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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