Downtown’s Blue period: Cops from across boro patrolling nabe during holidays after spate of shootings

Downtown’s Blue period: Cops from across boro patrolling nabe during holidays after spate of shootings
Photo by Julianne Cuba

Cops from all over Brooklyn are now patrolling America’s Downtown after a recent uptick in shootings there, including a fatal November incident when a gunman shot and killed another guy at the foot of an escalator inside a swanky new shopping center.

“We did have a few incidents, we were able to put more resources down, increase the visibility of patrol officers,” said Police Department Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, which serves the neighborhood in addition to the local 84th Precinct. “You’ll see other precincts’ patrol cars, that’s all part of our plan increasing presence here.”

Law-enforcement officials, Borough President Adams, and leaders of the business-boosting Downtown Brooklyn Partnership worked together on the plan to bring more officers from Patrol Borough Brooklyn North — which covers neighborhoods including Bushwick, East New York, Greenpoint, Vinegar Hill, and more, in addition to Downtown — to the busy shopping district during the holidays, following the recent shooting and three other bouts of non-fatal gunfire in July, August, and October.

Adams and authorities previously blamed the recurring incidents on gun-toting suspects coming to and from Downtown’s many courtrooms, who allegedly fired the bullets from weapons they stashed at construction sites.

On Monday, a 77th Precinct officer stationed outside MetroTech Center — the scene of the August shooting, which is far from the cop’s typical Crown Heights terrain — told this newspaper he parked there on orders to patrol the area due to the nearby Supreme, Family, and Civil courts.

And in addition to deploying more officers, law-enforcement officials worked with the Partnership to install new surveillance cameras along Fulton Mall, which they are using with other technology to help track down any baddies before they arrive Downtown and open fire, according to Maddrey and Partnership leader Regina Myer.

“A big part is the intelligence gathering,” Maddrey said.

But the concerted effort to stop some acts of violence may be putting other locals in harms way.

For instance, putting more boots on the ground Downtown led to confusion on local streets earlier this month, when two Boys in Blue from the 88th Precinct allegedly parked their police van in a Jay Street bike lane, forcing a cyclist to swerve into traffic near Willoughby Street, where a driver struck her.

Following the incident, cycling advocates took to social media to question why the officers ventured out of their precinct, and their commanding officer didn’t seem to have a clue.

“The intersection you are describing is not in the 88 Precinct,” Capt. Lashonda Dyce said on Twitter.

But no matter where cops are coming from, they all know better than to obstruct pedalers’ paths with their vehicles, according to Maddrey.

“They should not be parked in the bike lane, if they were that’s something were addressing,” he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.