FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.couriersun.com APRIL 24, 2014 • THE COURIER SUN 23 SNAPS QUEENS What do you think about the New York State Pavilion being preserved as a national treasure? “I think it’s ridiculous that they are calling it a national treasure. They could turn it into something useful. I would like to see it turned into a restaurant. But I wouldn’t call it a national treasure.” Dennis Robert Jeffrey “I’m in favor of preserving it. I like historic stuff. I think it’s a good thing. But I don’t know about a national treasure. I don’t think it’s that important.” John Pinerio “I don’t know about calling it a national treasure because there have been other structures in other World’s Fairs that aren’t national treasures, so it’s not that fair. ” Meryl Kalensky “As a kid my parents would point it out. I plan on living in New York and I’d like to point out the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere to my children, as my parents pointed it out to me.” Philip LeDonne “I think it’s a good idea. Nice that it was in Queens and it’s a little history. It could keep Queens relevant in the city.” Ken Woods “It’s a lot of money to keep it, but it was good memories.” Sari Gordon oped street talk “I know its falling to pieces. It was built as a temporary structure and it’s wasted real estate. Unless there is going to be another World’s Fair, and I don’t see that happening.” Tommy “Butch” Stevens “I think it’s wonderful. I love the park. Anything national would be good for the area. Just to bring more people and make it more friendly. The more beautiful you make one area, it spreads all over.” Johno Gargan Robert F. Kennedy Bridge Photo by Christina Psomiades-Apostolo Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! Submit them to us via our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/QueensCourier by tweeting@queenscourier or by emailing them to email@example.com BY LIAM LA GUERRE AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO New Inspector General has a tough job ahead BY CITY COUNCILMAN ROY LANCMAN Philip Eure, New York City’s fi rst New York Police Department Inspector General, has a tough job ahead of him — to make sure that the New York City Police Department is using best practices to keep us safe from a myriad of threats without compromising our civil liberties. I intend to work closely with my fellow members of the City Council to monitor his work and ensure that he is helping the police department accomplish both of these objectives. As the new IG, Mr. Eure will provide oversight of some of the City’s most controversial policing practices, in order to build mutual respect between citizens and the police. The City Council voted to establish the Inspector General’s role last year, shortly after it became clear that the breadth of the City’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim surveillance programs were both divisive and, in the case of stop-and-frisk, unlawful. Appointed by the Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters, Eure’s role is to act as an independent monitor to the NYPD, reviewing the department’s policies, procedures and practices in broad strokes. Mr. Eure, who headed the District of Columbia’s Offi ce of Police Complaints, has a balanced record of oversight. During his tenure there, he addressed warrantless searches, convinced the District’s police department to adopt a one-week training program to teach offi cers best practices for interacting with the mentally ill (a relevant problem to New York’s own growing population of mentally ill offenders), and tightened up on “contempt of cop” cases (frivolous claims brought against police just trying to do their job). However, New York is a city of unique challenges. New York employs a substantially larger police force than the District of Columbia (35,000 to 4,000, respectively), and serves what is the most diverse and concentrated urban population nationwide. The City has already taken positive steps to mend fences in communities affected by racially charged policing. Use of stop and frisk has dramatically receded from past years. Last week, Commissioner Bratton dissolved the police force’s Demographics Unit, which spied on Muslim citizens for no basis other than their religious affi liation. Suffi cient oversight will be needed to ensure that information collected from the Unit is appropriately handled with respect to privacy and that the blanket surveillance of Muslims won’t be diffused into other units. As IG, Mr. Eure’s ability to apply oversight is not confi ned to any one issue. Other review institutions, such as the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates individual complaints, or the federal monitor, whose primary purpose is to offer oversight in ending stop-and-frisk practices, have a much more narrow scope. Although public debate on the IG role gave most of its consideration to curtailing the use of stopand frisk and Muslim surveillance, the law establishing the IG offi ce authorizes it to examine any and all policies the NYPD employs. For example, state law currently requires police to investigate every crash where a serious accident happens, a standard that Mayor de Blasio has promised to meet as a part of his “Vision Zero” initiative. However, advocates for pedestrian and cyclist accident victims argue that the investigations don’t always happen. The IG has the authority to examine NYPD training and protocol to make sure collision units are properly handling such accidents. It’s up to Mr. Eure to apply his infl uence creatively and collaboratively, working with Commissioner Bratton and the Police Department to strive for good relationships and the safety of New Yorkers. We on the City Council will be watching closely to ensure the highest quality oversight is administered.
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