NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams beat a hasty retreat from one-man subway patrols after an experienced detective working by himself was assaulted on an East New York subway platform on Tuesday, .
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday, City Hall says it’s modifying the plan, but police unions have a different take.
It was sort of an embarrassing position for the mayor to be in. After all, he was a transit captain and is determined to make the NYPD more efficient. But the Police Benevolent Association and the detectives union double-teamed him, and he knows all too well that it’s important for cops to know he has their backs if he wants to reduce crime.
“This could have been a tragedy,” said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association. “I immediately reached out to the mayor last night and he said he is going to modify the one-man patrol and put two men on the trains, themselves.”
DiGiacomo was talking about how a detective with 10 years experience was assaulted on the platform of the No. 3 line at the Pennsylvania Station in East New York on Tuesday night and almost lost his gun to the assailant.
DiGiacomo called the mayor and asked him to rethink his plan and so did PBA President Pat Lynch.
“The detective could have lost his life,” DiGiacomo said. “If you look at the history of policing in transit and you look at the transit police officers that were killed, most of them were killed doing single-person patrol.”
A City Hall spokesman told CBS2 the solo patrols aren’t being abandoned, just modified. Later, the NYPD issued the following statement:
“We are continuing with the solo patrol concept by spreading officers out on posts, but with the caveat that they be within sight of one another. This will increase visibility of police officers looking out for the riding public, while at the same time looking out for each other,” a spokesperson said.
The mayor said, “The conversation was really how do we reach the the goal that we want? How do we get the omnipresence and how do we make sure the officers are safe? And we came with a real meeting of the minds of lets have the separated solo patrols stay in eyesight of each other.”
Adams, who had hoped to increase police presence on the trains by splitting up the teams, was apparently troubled by the attack, allegedly perpetrated by a 24-year-old who has a history of run-ins with cops. Police say Alex Eremin was smoking a cigarette when the cop asked him to put it out. Instead, Eremin reportedly hurled himself down the stairs and when the detective tried to help he tried to take him down the stairs with him. Police say he Eremin made several attempts to grab the cop’s gun.
Kramer asked DiGiacomo what it means for cops to be “within sight” of one another.
“Well, in eyesight means you would probably be in the next car and you could see from car to car to make sure that you’re OK, or at every stop officers would stick their heads out and look and make sure they’re OK,” DiGiacomo said.
While the new program won’t exactly be one-man units, it should break up the clusters of cops standing together and often looking at their phones, which we see sometimes.