Despite the gun violence afflicting New York City, including another 16-year-old who was chased down a Brooklyn street before being shot dead Wednesday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $5.7million new NYPD initiative Thursday that focuses on ‘customer service.’
He described the new initiative, which would involve stationing a community guide at each precinct stationhouse to greet visitors at the door, as ‘revolutionary’ and a ‘paradigm shift’ at his daily press conference.
‘Customer service has to be what the NYPD is about,’ he said, noting that, ‘Its never existed previously,’ in the agency.
‘It is simple, it is basic, it is powerful,’ he said.
He said the program was in response to years of complaints about officers who were ‘gruff and dismissive.’
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new customer service initiative for the NYPD Thursday that would involve posting community guides at each precinct
‘So many people who just were trying to exercise their rights to get information or file a concern or complaint, find out what’s happening with a case, they were treated in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with customer service or respect,’ he said.
The community guide would be a dedicated customer service representative – and an NYPD employee – responsible for greeting visitors and answering their questions.
Noting the difference between the guide and a precinct desk sergeant, de Blasio said the guide would be solely responsible for answering visitors’ questions.
Desk sergeants, meanwhile, are responsible for dealing with any interactions with the command, NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes said during the press conference.
City Hall said the program would cost $5.7million a year to hire 180 greeters, the New York Post reported.
The announcement came after 16-year-old Cahlil Pennington was seen as he was shot dead in the head during a running gun battle in East New York Tuesday
After the teen with the gun turns around and fires a shot behind him, Cahlil is seen dropping to the ground and tripping one his friends
A teen in a blood-soaked hoodie is seen hiding around the corner on Miller Avenue hovering over Cahlil’s body strewn on the sidewalk
The announcement came as shootings have nearly doubled in the city since the same period in 2019, according to the latest NYPD statistics.
Hours prior to announcement, 16-year-old Jaden Turnage was chased down a street in Bedford Stuyvesant and shot in the chest at around 6.15pm, the Post also reported.
He was taken to Brooklyn Hospital where he was pronounced dead, and no suspects have been identified.
A day before, 16-year-old Cahil Pennington was caught on surveillance as he was accidentally shot in the head by his friend during a daylight gun battle in East New York.
Pennington was shot as he and two other teens in white hoodies ran down Pitkin Avenue, according to police and the footage.
In the video, one of the teens turns around to shoot at another gunman after being shot in the stomach during a shootout around 1:30 pm, police said.
In the commotion, the bullet missed its intended target and hit Cahlil in the head at the corner of Pitkin and Miller Avenues, according to police and video footage.
Cahlil pictured with his father Cornell (rightr), was taken to Brookdale University Hospital where he was pronounced dead
Cahlil, a student at Brooklyn’s New Visions AIM Charter High School II, was taken to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Several of the teens fled the scene and no arrests have been made.
According to police, the gunfire began when a gunman walked up and shot one of the teens in the torso at 1:34 pm near the Fiorentino Plaza Houses.
Cahlil reportedly suffered two gunshot wounds. Police believe that he was also shot by the gunman, who first opened fire on the teens.
‘My son was shot twice in the back,’ the slain boy’s father, Cornell Pennington, 45, told the New York Daily News. ‘I never thought we would be going through this. My kid’s supposed to bury me, not me bury them.’
‘My son wasn’t perfect. We thought my son left these streets behind. He was in the 10th grade. … He didn’t deserve this. Nobody does,’ Cornell said.
The announcement came as the number of violent crimes in the continue to top those recorded the previous year
The grieving father said that ‘Cahlil was picking up his girlfriend to bring her home. Her living situation wasn’t the best so he asked if she could live with us.’
The incidents come as year-to-date violent crimes continue to top those recorded in 2020.
As of September 26, shooting incidents were up 2.8 percent over the previous year, and shooting victims were up .5 percent. Felony assaults were up 6.7 percent, and misdemeanor assaults up 5 percent. Rapes were up 2.8 percent.
Murders, however, were down 2.5 percent, and overall crime was down .38 percent.
Holmes said Thursday that addressing violent crimes would always be the NYPD’s priority, but that it also needed to build better relationships.
‘If we don’t have a relationship with the community,’ she said, ‘it’s never going to be a success for New York City.’