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The New York City Police Department join the Department of Homeless Services to discuss new shelter security measures



January 6, 2017

Contact: Lauren Gray (, 917-790-3890)



NEW YORK—Today, New York City Police Department First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker and Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks announced that 22 NYPD personnel will be working with the Department of Social Services to help oversee management of security at Department of Homeless Services' shelters. As the result of a review of shelter security ordered by the Mayor in March 2016, a number of security improvements have already been implemented.

"The NYPD is among the premier policing and security organizations in the world and having them work with Commissioner Steven Banks to manage security at our homeless shelters will ensure the best possible approach to providing safety for both shelter residents and the neighborhoods where are shelters are located," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"2016 was the safest year on record in New York City," said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. "We will bring our crime fighting expertise to assist the Department of Homeless Services in making their facilities more secure, with both our management team and the training of peace officers."

"DHS' Security Plan, including the new key NYPD role, demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of the individuals and families DHS is entrusted with protecting. DHS work with the NYPD Management Team has already resulted in the implementation of critical improvements to the shelter security measures that had been in place for many years," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.

A key component of the 90-Day Review of Homeless Services directed by Mayor de Blasio was the deployment of a Management Team from the NYPD to work with Commissioner Banks to oversee day-to-day security operations of the shelter system during a complete NYPD review of DHS security operations. The initial NYPD team, which has been working with DHS since April, has already:

  • Implemented a crime prevention reporting system, a daily risk assessment report, and a sex offender monitoring system.
  • Created an assessment instrument for staffing deployment at shelter facilities.
  • Conducted specialized training for DHS Peace Officers.
  • Instituted procedures for conducting searches in shelters.
  • Upgraded security at hotels covered by private security guards.

The full complement of 22 NYPD personnel led by Deputy Chief Edward Thompson will:

  • Oversee existing DHS security supervisors that currently manage DHS Peace Officers at shelters.
  • Analyze incident data to evaluate risks and inform policy and staffing decisions at shelters.
  • Provide expertise to enhance training and hiring of DHS Peace Officers.
  • Review the security plans at all locations at which DHS Peace Officers are not onsite, direct enhancements where needed, and monitor shelters for compliance.

Access Control: The NYPD management team will continue to assess the adequacy of security measures currently in place at shelter entry points. DHS security personnel will receive training including specific training on access control at shelters.

Surveillance: To improve the surveillance of facilities, the NYPD management team will continue to assess facility needs for improvement of specific, limited CCTV systems.

  • For example, after operating for three decades without a CCTV system, DHS has revamped the surveillance system and infrastructure at the 30th Street Men’s Shelter through the installation of more than 300 surveillance cameras, all of which are now fully operational.

Training and Deployment of Staff: Under the direction of the NYPD management team, DHS security personnel, including DHS Peace Officers, have received and will continue to receive enhanced training from the NYPD on various security-related topics, including access control, understanding mental health and disorder, victimization and trauma, domestic violence, crisis communication, physical training, tactical training, and scenario-based training exercises. In addition, going forward, the NYPD will provide peace officer certification and in-service training for all DHS peace officers and supervisors. Actions taken to date include:

  • To date, 123 DHS security supervisors and 666 DHS Peace Officers have received enhanced training from the NYPD.
  • The NYPD management team, in conjunction with DHS and the NYC Human Resources Administration, launched a new Domestic Violence program, including training for FJC-contracted security guards to better identify potential domestic violence situations so that families may be referred for appropriate services.
  • The NYPD management team's collaboration with DHS security personnel is establishing mentor-based relationships that will foster improved professionalism, discipline and accountability throughout DHS' security operations.

Under the oversight of the NYPD Management Team, the DHS Peace Officer staffing has been increased from 548 in May to 777 currently, and 31 new cadets are in training. As part of this expanded staffing, the NYPD Management Team has hired 186 new Peace Officers and promoted 10 supervisors up to the rank of inspector. Additional DHS Peace Officer staffing will be phased in at additional shelter locations.

The NYPD management team has also put enhanced supervisory procedures in place for the 1,400 FJC-contracted security guards at various shelters at which there is not current DHS Peace Officer staffing. The NYPD management team has specifically reviewed the FJC operations at commercial hotels to make sure the security deployment is appropriate and monitors coverage to ensure ongoing appropriate deployment. FJC has also implemented new Guard Force and Geo fencing technology to monitor staffing deployment at the commercial hotels in real time.

With respect to not-for-profit and other shelters at which DHS Peace Officers are not currently deployed, the NYPD Management Team will continue to monitor deployment and performance to ensure that the needs of each location are being met.

Safety Measures for Shelter Staff: In addition to the NYPD management team's ongoing efforts to evaluate and improve security measures at shelters, DHS offers training to shelter staff on de-escalation techniques to diffuse situations. DHS will require all shelters to provide adequate training on safety measures.