Brooklyn Heights

Police captain not confident Brooklyn Bridge Park will get more cops

May 20, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Community Council President Leslie Lewis (left) and Capt. Sergio Centa (right) presented Sgt. David Cheesewright (second from left), Officer John Uske (second from right) and Lt. Frank Jurs (not pictured) with the Cop of the Month Award. Photo courtesy of Steve Neiman.
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New construction is happening everywhere in Brooklyn, and with many of those projects focused in Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, it is putting stress on the area’s infrastructure. Add in the ever-growing Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the 84th Precinct police are dealing with a lot more people than they were a few years ago.

That’s why after a violent incident at the park on April 15, where two shots were fired on Pier 2, the 84th Precinct’s Capt. Sergio Centa requested more police officers for the area.

At last month’s Community Council meeting, Centa said he was “confident” that his command would receive the additional units he requested; however, Centa was not as optimistic about his request at Tuesday’s meeting.

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“This neighborhood is changing; it’s a lot different from two months ago, let alone two years ago,” Centa said. “The amount of building and construction going on certainly warrants [extra cops], but I don’t write the checks. I can only make recommendations to my superiors.

“It’s tough,” he continued. “I don’t think I’m going to get them in the way that I thought. I think I will get them, eventually, I don’t know when. It’s something I’m pushing for. I push for it every day. It’s still to be seen.”

Centa went on to say that the department is still considering his request, and that there are times when additional details are assigned to the area when the park is expecting big crowds.

Meanwhile, some of the locals came to Tuesday’s meeting worried that spillover activity from the park will have a negative effect on Brooklyn Heights and other surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’re having an explosion of population down here, and we need more cops, we need more fire and we need more EMS,” said Heights resident Jeff Smith. “Our safety net is spread too thin.

We don’t want what’s going on in that park to spread into Brooklyn Heights.

“We’ve seen all of this before,” Smith continued. “We saw this in the ’70s and ’80s where there are shots fired off the Promenade and people throwing things. We don’t need that.”

Another community member came to the meeting to complain about traffic enforcement on Jay Street where double-parked cars are a problem. Once again, the captain said lack of resources was a problem.

“It’s kind of limiting us because since Officer Ramos and Officer Liu were killed on Dec. 20, we went from single-man posts to double-man posts. The days of me putting a single scooter on Jay Street are over because now I have to have two officers together in a car.

“That means visibility is down, summons enforcement numbers are down as well, but if that means keeping my cops safe, then so be it. I’m not going through again what I went through in December.”



The 84th Precinct Community Council recognized three cops as Cops of the Month for May — Lt. Frank Jurs, Sgt. David Cheesewright and Officer John Uske — for their work in apprehending two suspects involved in the April 15 Brooklyn Bridge Park shooting.

“All three officers responded quickly, assessed the situation and displayed bravery in pursuing two men who they believed were armed,” said Community Council President Leslie Lewis. “For the arrest of two men who fired a gun into a crowd and for the recovery of that gun, we thought it was appropriate to name these three Cops of the Month.”



It was Community Council President Leslie Lewis’ birthday on Tuesday, so the 84th Precinct surprised him with his favorite — lemon meringue pie. Lewis is 88-years-young. He has been working alongside the 84th Precinct since the ’80s after he moved to Boerum Hill.

“We all have a journey here in life and mine has been a lucky one,” Lewis said. “To know people like you, to know some of the people on my block, who have walked my dog, there are a lot of nice people, and I thank you all for that.”

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