Bay Ridge precinct council starts ‘Summer of Support’ for NYPD
Campaign to include petitions, letters of praise for police
Fighting what they termed an avalanche of negative publicity against cops, a coalition of Southwest Brooklyn civic and political groups announced the start of “Summer of Support,” a show of public support for the NYPD in which everyday New Yorkers are asked to sign pro-police message boards in lawmakers’ offices and other sites.
The goal, according to Ilene Sacco, president of the 68th Precinct Community Council, is to collect thousands of signatures and messages supporting police and bring the signed message boards to the precinct stationhouse at 333 65th St. in the fall in a massive show of support for the NYPD.
“It’s a big task, but we’re in,” Sacco said at a press conference-rally that took place outside the precinct stationhouse on Friday. The precinct community council is spearheading the effort.
Standing in front of a group of representatives from local groups, Sacco said she would like to “wall paper” the 68th Precinct stationhouse with the messages.
The 68th Precinct covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
The groups taking part in the “Summer of Support” include Rolling Thunder, the Neighborhood Improvement Association, the Federation of Italian-American Organizations, the 17th of May Parade Committee of Greater New York, the Brooklyn Conservative Party, the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, the Yemeni American Association and the Guild for Exceptional Children.
“Summer of Support” appears to be an effort to counteract publicity confronting cops across the country, including New York, over the past year in the wake of the shocking deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of police. The deaths led to massive protest rallies in cities across the U.S.
“Our police officers have been under fire for some time and it’s a shame,” said state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), who is a retired cop.
Sacco, a lawyer, didn’t directly comment on the Garner and Brown tragedies, but took pains to point out the good that cops do.
“I have seen police officers hold a lost child in their arms,” she said.
Sacco said New Yorkers can also email pro-cop messages to [email protected].
Capt. Raymond Festino, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, stood at the edges of the crowd and watched as the press conference-rally unfolded, but did not comment on the campaign.
“This effort is not being spearheaded by the police,” Sacco had earlier told the Brooklyn Eagle. “This is strictly a civilian undertaking.”
Several elected officials, including Golden, Assemblymembers Peter Abbate, Alec Brook-Krasny and Nicole Malliotakis, and Councilmember Vincent Gentile, pledged to display the message boards in their district offices.
“I can’t wait to see the messages and signatures that will go on these boards,” said Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst).
Malliotakis (R-C-Staten Island-Bay Ridge) said that it is important for elected officials to show their support of cops.
“Cops have a dangerous job,” she said. “They have the increased risk of knowing they might not make it home.”
Brook-Krasny (D-Bay Ridge-Coney Island) agreed, “We are celebrating people who keep us safe and secure.”
But Abbate (D-Bensonhurst-Sunset Park) said that while it was important to show support for cops through encouraging notes, it was also vital for elected officials to show police they’re in their corner by providing them with adequate benefits.
“The way they’re paid, they can’t afford to live in our community,” he said.
Gentile pointed out that he recently voted against a bill to boost cops’ disability benefits “because it didn’t go far enough.”
Sacco, who said “Summer of Support” had gotten off to a good start, reminded supporters that this was just the beginning.
“This is a two-part,” she said. “We want everyone back in the fall.”
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