Commissioner Ponte Statement on Assault of Officer

Attribute to Commissioner Ponte:
“I am outraged by this horrific assault. Attacks against the hardworking men and women who serve in our department are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I visited the Officer in the hospital last night, and told him that we will do everything possible to support him and his family during this ordeal. The Officer’s injuries were treated and he was released from the hospital last night. DOC immediately arrested the inmates involved, and they are being arraigned today. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to take every step to ensure the safety and security of our staff and inmates. As part of our comprehensive reforms, we have already tightened entrance procedures to keep weapons and contraband out of our jails, bolstered security camera coverage and redesigned our emergency response teams to get to officers faster when they are in a dangerous situation. We also are issuing a new use of force policy that will give our Officers additional guidance when they are placed in situations where force may be necessary for the safety and security of staff and inmates.”
On background: 

  • DOC facilities are on lockdown as the Department conducts Tactical Search Operations to root out contraband.
  • The lockdown will continue until the operations’ objectives are accomplished. 
  • The first priority of DOC’s 14-point anti-violence initiative is keeping weapons, drugs and other contraband out of DOC facilities.
  • In order do so, DOC is seeking revisions to its visitor rules -- common-sense measures designed to stem the passing of contraband and meant for the safety of both staff and inmates. 
  • DOC is working with the state legislature to permit the use of body scanners in our jails, which more finely screen for contraband.
  • Visitor arrests rose 23% in FY15 over FY14, and drug seizures are up 25% this calendar year over last.
  • Under Commissioner Ponte, DOC has already taken significant steps to stem the smuggling of contraband via tightened front-gate procedures. The Department’s multi-layered security approach includes:
    • employing regular K-9 patrols
    • using hand-held transfriskers
    • pat-frisking if further search is necessary
    • limiting allowable items
    • Trained 100% of existing front entrance staff in enhanced TSA-style procedures
    • In addition, visitors may be requested to undergo an ion scan that screens for drugs or other particles by swabbing hands, pockets, etc. with a special cloth
    • Contraband is also rooted out during regular and random searches of housing areas

About the New York City Department of Correction

The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) manages the jail system for New York City. It operates Rikers Island, which houses 10 individual facilities, four borough-based jails and two hospital prison wards, as well as court pens in all five boroughs. In FY 2014, DOC had 77,141 admissions involving 56,218 individuals.

Its Average Daily Population is approximately 11,400, over 80 percent of whom are housed on Rikers Island. Most of the inmates in DOC custody are being detained pending the resolution of charges against them; approximately 15 percent are city-sentenced inmates who are serving sentences of one year or less.

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