By Kristin F. Dalton
Staten Island Advance
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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A significant investment from the state will be used to expand initiatives and establish new programs aimed at keeping New Yorkers safe on the subway and provide help to individuals experiencing serious mental health illness and homelessness.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced the Cops, Cameras, and Care plan, which will use money from the state’s public emergency fund to put more NYPD and MTA officers at strategic subway stations and create two new dedicated units and psychiatric centers to provide care.
Hochul said her office will do “whatever it takes” to make the subway safer for riders.
“Our expanded subway safety strategy of Cops, Cameras, and Care will crack down on subway crimes, help those experiencing homelessness get the support they need to get out of the system, and alleviate concerns of riders to ensure New Yorkers feel safer throughout the subway system. Building on our ongoing collaboration with the city, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with the mayor and the NYPD to deliver the safety and security New Yorkers deserve,” Hochul said.
Mayor Eric Adams said the Cops, Cameras, and Care initiative will add additional officers on the trains and help people suffering from mental illness so they can find their way out of the subway system — “two things New Yorkers desperately want.”
“We must address both the perception and reality of safety, and the expanded partnership we are announcing today with Gov. Hochul will do just that, while building off the successes of our Subway Safety Plan. The bottom line is that riders will see more officers in the system, and so will those thinking of breaking the law. On behalf of all New Yorkers, we’re thankful for this state investment that will make our subways safer,” Adams said.
APPROXIMATELY 10K ADDITIONAL OFFICER OVERTIME HOURS, CAMERAS IN SUBWAY CARS
MTA Police will deploy to four major commuter railroad hubs — Penn Station, Grand Central Station, Atlantic Terminal, and Sutphin-Archer ( Jamaica) station — and free up approximately 100 NYPD officers who can then be deployed to other transit locations and on trains.
The NYPD and the MTA will expand the presence of officers on subway platforms, the equivalent of approximately 10,000 additional overtime patrol hours every day, the city and state said.
The partnership between the MTA and the NYPD will build on Adams’ Subway Safety Plan, the city said.
The MTA will also continue to install cameras in every subway car to enhance security coverage and have train conductors announce to riders when they enter a station where there is a police presence. One hundred cameras will be installed in the coming days, followed by 750 per month to cover all 6,500 subway cars.
NEW PSYCHIATRIC FACILITIES, RESOURCES FOR HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS
Hochul deployed the Safe Options Support crisis intervention teams to help address the unhoused population sheltering in the subway system in New York City.
She has directed the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) to create two new, dedicated 25-bed units to help those suffering from severe mental illness. The first will launch at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center by Nov. 1, the state said.
OMH is evaluating downstate psychiatric hospitals to determine where the second unit can be opened and plans to open it by early 2023.
Both units will serve individuals aged 18 and older with severe mental health illnesses who are experiencing homelessness and will work with referring hospitals to provide acceptance for patients who need to be medically stabilized.
OMH will also launch two new Transition to Home Units, a new treatment program for street and subway patients experiencing homelessness with severe mental illnesses and poor community tenure who would benefit from recovery-oriented, person-centered care.
There will also be a Community Residential Step-Down program to help people transition back into the community and acquire the necessary skills.
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