FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 25, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 23
Current POST Act plan puts NYPD cops in danger
Being a police
offi cer can be a
Working as an
undercover offi -
cer in the units
that deal with
gangs, guns or drug dealers takes the “can
be” out of the equation. It’s just dangerous.
As Chief of Detectives of the NYPD, I
have the honor, but also the great responsibility
for deploying the undercover offi -
cers who, on a daily basis, walk into some
of law enforcement’s most dangerous scenarios.
We try as best we can to protect
them with covert communications and
back-up teams, but we know undercover
work is also unpredictable.
I know that as a commander, but I also
know it as an undercover. On Sept. 21,
1995, I was working as a narcotics undercover
with another offi cer. Aft er attempting
a buy from fi ve suspected dealers on
the street I couldn’t score. Something was
off . Aft er attempting another buy from a
couple of other dealers nearby, the same.
Th e vibe was off .
Walking back to the car that night I was
being shadowed by my partner, Detective
Mike Stoney. I was going over it in my
head. We were in the middle of Bedford-
Stuyvesant in 1995 where I had bought
drugs undercover many times, but the
tension seemed higher.
As I turned the corner, the fi ve dealers
I had fi rst approached saw me walking
toward the car. I played it off , went
the other way but Stoney walked ahead to
distract them from me. Th e group challenged
Mike and one of them, unprovoked,
pulled a gun and opened fi re.
Stoney was struck by gunfi re and was
seriously hurt, but he fi red back. I moved
in and returned fi re as well. I believe to
this day, Stoney saved my life and I may
have saved his.
I spent much of that night at the hospital
until I knew Mike was going to be
OK. Th e fi ve men involved, including the
shooter, were arrested later that night.
Last December when I was promoted to
Chief of Detectives, I looked out to my
right, and several rows back amid hundreds
of people, there was Detective Mike
Stoney, retired by then, but still watching
my back as I assumed this new responsibility.
Th is week, the City Council is set to vote
on a bill called the POST Act. Th ey are
letters & comments
expected to pass it. It is a law, that in its
current form, will put NYPD undercover
offi cers in more danger.
It is also easy to fi x that law if the City
Council will add one sentence to the bill.
Th e POST Act requires the NYPD to
disclose all its “surveillance technology.”
Most of what is described as “surveillance
technology” in the proposed bill is not
for “surveillance” but are actually systems
that my detectives use in investigations
every day. Th at’s why we support 99 percent
of what the POST Act requires.
When it comes to security cameras we
recover video from to solve crimes or the
license plate readers we use to retrace the
direction of a getaway car, or facial recognition
soft ware that has been instrumental
in identifying robbers, hate-crime perpetrators
and sexual predators, the NYPD
believes people have a right to know about
these systems, how they work and how
privacy is protected.
Th e problem with the POST Act is it
also requires the NYPD to give a description
of any and all devices that are “used
or designed for, collecting, retaining, processing,
or sharing audio, video, location,
thermal, biometric, or similar information,
that is operated by or at the direction
of the department.”
Th e POST Act says the department
must place on its public website a list of
this equipment with a description of it
and how it is used. Th ere is no exemption
for the covert electronics used to protect
our undercover offi cers.
Granted, since the days I was undercover
and buying drugs with a tape recorder and
a transmitter, the electronics have gotten
smaller and easier to conceal. But undercover
offi cers face increased dangers.
Th e drug deals moved away from the
open-air drug markets on street corners
and into the buildings, hallways and
apartments, where an undercover is at
greater risk of being searched more thoroughly
than the street.
Th e City Council can fi x the POST Act
with one simple sentence. Give the Police
Commissioner the authority to report
all the technology we use, how we use
it and what the rules are which is what
the law was intended for, but also give
the commissioner the ability to exclude
descriptions of the technology used by
our undercover offi cers in the fi eld whose
jobs are already very dangerous.
Why would we ever legislate a way to
make their work more dangerous?
Rodney Harrison is the Chief of
Detectives of the NYPD.
SHAME ON THE MTA
Th e following is an open letter to the
I am a physically handicapped person
— one who walks with a cane. I suffer
with stares, laughs and dirty looks all
the time from fellow human beings. It’s a
cruel world out there.
And now, during this especially stressful
time, I am afraid to take buses! Why?
Th e bus drivers will not let me on in the
front, when anyone with a handicap is
allowed to ride in the front of the bus. Just
because I do not have a wheelchair does
not mean I am not disabled. Just because
I do not look the part? I am a young person
in her 30s, so that does not mean I am
disabled. Not all disabled people have any
assisted walking devices.
Th e MTA has instilled fear in me since
I am worried about falling while getting
on or off a bus. Th e bus is higher in the
back. It doesn’t lower. And someone with
any mobility issues may have problems
An example would be on June 17, when
at about 10 a.m., I was in Kew Gardens
waiting for the Q10. Upon arriving, the
fi rst driver yelled and argued with me.
He shrugged and asked me what I wanted
him to do. I told him that letting me
on in the front of the bus would be nice;
he said it’s for wheelchairs only, and there
are no seats.
Fine, I was only going a couple of stops,
I could stand, I thought. But I could tell
he was being spiteful, since he knew I was
needing to get on, and purposely didn’t
pull into the curb. And then he drove off
without me on the bus.
Th ree minutes later, another Q10 pulls
up, and something a little diff erent happens.
He points to the back. I told him to
look at the sign his company puts on the
bus. He, too, drove off , without showing
me any compassion.
I have other stories to tell, but these are
just the recent ones.
MTA, is this the service you like providing
your passengers? What if this was
one of these drivers’ elderly relatives …
or themselves using an assisted walking
device? Who are these drivers to judge
me and refuse me service? Th at is ignorance
and pure discrimination. How do
they still have their jobs?
Does my safety not matter to your agency?
Yes, it’s a pandemic, but to have any
one of your employees do this to someone
who pays their salary is deplorable. And
sometimes the drivers themselves don’t
have masks on. I saw that on the Q58.
And not providing service is discrimination.
I have always had problems with
your agency lowering a lift so I can get on
and off , but to drive past me since I can’t
get on or off in the back is the worst yet. If
I were to fall either getting on or off , what
would be done then?
All of your drivers need to understand
that not all disabilities are visible, and
just because someone is not in a wheelchair
does not mean they’re not disabled.
Th at is judging people, which is defi nitely
Th is pandemic has surely brought out
the worst in the MTA, and I never thought
that was possible.
Amy Marino, Ridgewood
A GREAT FIRST TRIP BACK
TO THE BARBERSHOP
New York City has now entered phase
two, which allows barbershops and hair
salons to reopen. Let me say, “Hair we
On Monday, June 22, the fi rst day of
phase two, I was at my favorite barbershop
— Ideal Barbershop, located in
Glen Oaks Village on Union Turnpike and
Little Neck Parkway — at 9:30 a.m. and I
was on a mission to get that haircut aft er
almost fi ve months.
In front of the shop were chairs located
six feet apart — inside was the same. Each
person had to have their temperature
checked before they were allowed to enter
the shop. And each customer — and the
barbers — were required to have a mask
on. Aft er each customer was fi nished, the
barber would disinfect the chair.
I waited only a few minutes before my
barber took me to his chair. When he told
me his name was Gabriel, I thought to
myself, just like the angel from the Bible. We
struck up a conversation and he told me he
was glad to be back to work and I told him
I was happy that he was back to work, too.
Returning back to the barbershop was a
welcome experience and made me realize
how much I truly missed going. And aft er
my appointment, I felt like a new man.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
A FLOWER PLANTED IN FRONT
OF FLUSHING HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER //
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ROY NAIPAUL
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