Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Police" Bikes Used By AlliedBarton Stir Up Concerns In Battery Park City


By Geoffrey Croft

Tensions have grown even higher over Battery Park City's secretive plan to replace PEP officers with private ambassadors.

Is AlliedBarton and the Battery Park City Park Authority deliberately attempting to mislead the public into believing they are getting police officers? 

That's a question some are asking after a highly visible piece of new equipment arrived in the middle of the night and into the park this afternoon.  

Seven black bicycles with the word "police" written across the frame in large letters were delivered overnight this morning to the Battery Park City Park (BPC) Park Enforcement Patrol command. Several BPC sources say are intended to used by AlliedBarton "Security Ambassadors" in Battery Park City.

Several personnel were seen training on the bikes along the esplanade this afternoon weaving in and out of bright orange safety cones with instructors. 

Concerns are being raised regarding the use of the word POLICE on the bikes as it is illegal to impersonate a police officer or give that impression. 

"Why do they have bikes that say police on them, " asked Local 983 President Joe Puleo who represents the PEP officers. 

"It's a crime to identify yourself as a police officer or a peace officer when you are not."

S 190.26 Criminal impersonation in the first degree.     A  person is guilty of criminal impersonation in the first degree when   he:     1. Pretends to be a  police  officer  or  a  federal  law  enforcement   officer  as enumerated in section 2.15 of the criminal procedure law, or   wears or  displays  without  authority,  any  uniform,  badge  or  other   insignia  or  facsimile thereof, by which such police officer or federal   law enforcement officer is lawfully distinguished or expresses by his or her words or actions that he or she  is  acting  with  the  approval  or   authority   of  any  police  department  or  acting  as  a  federal  law   enforcement officer with the approval of any agency that employs federal   law enforcement officers as enumerated in section 2.15 of  the  criminal   procedure law; and     2.  So  acts with intent to induce another to submit to such pretended  official authority or otherwise to act in reliance  upon  said  pretense and  in  the  course  of  such  pretense commits or attempts to commit a  felony;   

Seven bicycles with the word "police" written across the frame in large letters were delivered overnight to the Battery Park City Park (BPC) Park Enforcement Patrol command. 

"No bicycles used by AlliedBarton in Battery Park City will say “police,” The Battery Park City Park Authority said in a statement.  

"The bicycles that were present in the Regatta are a model made by Fuji called “Police Patrol.” Any markings are purely branding by Fuji and will be removed prior to use."

The issue comes ten days after an AlliedBarton representative denied that one of their security guards was involved in a stabbing incident while on duty at the World trade Center on September 14th. 

John McArdle, AlliedBarton's regional operations manager was asked about the incident at the November 2nd Community Board 2 meeting. He said an employee of the company was not involved.  

Saul Puente,  an AlliedBarton Security Services employee was arrested and charged with felony assault according to police after someone threw french fries at him. He allegedly slashed the victim in the face and stabbed him in the chest before fleeing down Fulton Street.

Personnel were seen training on the bikes along the esplanade this afternoon with instructors. PEP officers have 24-hour Peace Officer status with arrest powers while AlliedBarton "security ambassadors" have no arrest powers.

Battery Park City Authority's controversial plan to replace most the 45 PEP officers with AlliedBarton "security ambassadors" who have no arrest powers has not sat well with residents.   The public found out about the move after the Authority board voted on the plan at its October 27th meeting which was reported by a local paper.  

At the  Novemver 2nd Community Board 1 meeting a BPCA representaive put the deal with  AlliedBarton at  $1.8 million.

After the meeting a BPCA spokesperson said the board approved a contract not to exceed $ 2.1 million to the private security firm.  The deal would replace the current $ 2.5 million dollar PEP contract. 

A flyer circulated after the news broke slamming the plan.

"Shame on the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) for ONCE AGAIN making a behind Close Door Deal without asking the residents and the community,"  the flyer read in part.  

"Taxation Without Representation

We do not need '"Customer Service Agents"' who are unable to enforce the law and will be unable to protect not only the residents of Battery Park City but the millions of people who visit our parks annually," the flyer said. 

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