NYPD brass and borough officials sounded off on January 31, discussing the borough’s heroin epidemic. The symposium was held in front of a few hundred people at the Jewish Community Center in Seaview, as part of a community-safety meeting hosted by the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island.
The CommUNITY meeting was novel because COJO also coordinated the security meeting with faith-based groups and civic organizations of Staten Island. A look at the packed standing-room-only crowd reflected people of all walks of life and is testimony of COJO’s concern for the welfare and well-being of all of Staten Island.
The audience was addressed by NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill; Staten Island Borough President James Oddo; Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon; Mendy Mirocznik, president of COJO; Scott Maurer, CEO and executive vice-president COJO; and NYPD Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre, borough commander of Patrol Borough Staten Island. Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, made the invocation.
Also present was the borough’s top NYPD brass, including the commanding officers of the Island’s police precincts, Deputy Inspector Robert Bocchino from the 120, Deputy Inspector Matthew Harrington from the 121, Deputy Inspector Ebony Washington from the 122, Captain Kenneth Noonan from the 123, as well as representatives from One Police Plaza.
Mendy Mirocznik and Scott Maurer presented a proclamation to NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill lauding the commissioner for his great contributions to the NYPD.
Mirocznik stated, “Tonight we recognize Commissioner O’Neill and take note of his 35 years of outstanding service to the NYPD. Crime in New York City is down due to the commissioner’s hard work and leadership. Thanks to the commissioner’s efforts, the people of our city respect, trust, and have confidence in the NYPD. The proclamation that we present to the commissioner is just a mere token of COJO’s appreciation for Commissioner O’Neill.”
Maurer stated that by recognizing NYPD Commissioner O’Neill we honor all the men and women of the NYPD who give of themselves in making our city and borough a safe place to live. Thanks to the NYPD, New York is the safest city in the world.
Commissioner O’Neil thanked Mirocznik, Maurer, and COJO for being, “a great community partner of the NYPD,” and he further acknowledged “the staunch support that COJO has for the NYPD.”
O’Neill also gave a rundown of the agencies and joint task forces combating the issue, from federal authorities to police precincts on Staten Island.
Authorities estimate more than 110 overdose deaths last year on Staten Island, where the population is about 475,000.
“Talking public-heath metrics, that’s not an epidemic, that’s a plague,” said Richmond County D.A. Michael E. McMahon.
There have been 30 convictions on the island related to opioid distribution since October 1, as investigators continue to target dealers, McMahon said.
Officials also explained a program in Staten Island schools that pairs a teacher and a police officer in the classroom. The curriculum started at the fifth-grade level and is now being piloted at the seventh- and ninth-grade levels.
“We are kidding ourselves if we think we can touch these kids in the fifth grade with this message, and then send them out into this big bad world and they’re equipped to deal with this epidemic,” said Borough President James Oddo. “We have to get a curriculum in place, pre-K to 12, about healthy decision-making.”