An AlliedBarton “safety ambassador” on the southern end of Battery Park City. On Wednesday the Battery Park City Authority board secretly voted to remove all law enforcement officers from the premises and replace them with civilian AlliedBarton employees.
By Geoffrey Croft
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) secretly voted this week to remove all the Park Enforcement Patrol officers, NYC Park Advocates has learned.
The board voted to allow its contract with the Parks Department to expire on Sunday night. The secret vote occurred in an Executive Session after the authority’s monthly board meeting on Wednesday. The deal replaced the current $ 2.5 million dollar PEP contract.
For months BPCA officials have told the public that a percentage of PEP officers would remain along side AlliedBarton “safety ambassadors.”
The Battery Park City Authority’s controversial decision to replace Park Enforcement officers with civilians with no law enforcement powers has sparked outrage from residents of the sprawling complex.
The BPCA board had approved a contract for up to $ 2.1 million with AlliedBarton, another $ 400,000 would be allocated for PEP officers officials said.
The Parks Department was kept in the dark about the move until yesterday afternoon according to several city sources. The agency had reached out to BPCA this week several times but got no response.
On Friday afternoon Parks Department’s general council Alessandro Olivieri was finally able to get in touch with the BPCA.
The last tour for the PEP officers will be on Sunday night. All forty PEP personnel including thirty officers and supervisors, and ten CSA’s will be reassigned to other commands.
Wednesday’s secret vote comes after a group of teens were viciously attacked and robbed in a dark alley in Battery Park City in December.
The attack left one of the victims with a concussion, a skull fracture, bleeding in his brain in three places and a swollen shut eye.
The incident sparked outrage by the victims who claimed the newly hired AlliedBarton safety ambassadors did not intervene to help the teens and delayed calling the police.
“AlliedBarton security personnel on duty did nothing to help the children,” the mother of victim said afterwards.
The actions of AlliedBarton employees further renewed the fears of residents and elected officials who have complained bitterly since finding out about the Authority’s move to replace PEP offices with civilians in October.
In December city, state,and federal elected officials send a letter to Dennis Mehiel criticizing the AlliedBarton move:
Battery Park City Authority board chairman and CEO Dennis Mehiel was blasted at a community meeting last month over the proposed hiring of AlliedBarton. At the meeting he stated that they were still in negotiations between the City and BPCA.
Mr. Mehiel abruptly excused himself from the meeting leaving of long line of angry residents waiting to speak.
One recent plan called for having PEP officers work two tours comprising of 24 officers in total according to a city source.
The secret ousting of the PEP officers comes amid growing outrage over several recent decisions by the Board without community consultation and transparency.
Calls for the city to take over the Battery Park City in the wake of these decisions have also been renewed.
This week State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick announced the introduction of a bill that would require a majority of BPCA members to be local residents. Only one of the current BPCA’ seven-member board lives in Battery Park City.
The Authority board is appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the State Senate.
“They televise the board meetings then go into executive session. They do all the dirty stuff behind closed doors, “ said a Battery Park City resident.
Several requests seeking comment from the Battery Park City Authority were not returned.
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