September 6, 2022
Deputy Commissioner Public Information Julian Phillips, Police Department: We just have a few more people coming up, so just bear with us for a minute here. Okay. Good afternoon, everybody. How you doing? How you doing? Okay. Welcome to One Police Plaza. This past weekend was a milestone in our ability to provide a safe event for the people of this great city. I want to repeat that again, this was a milestone to provide a safe event for the people of the city, not just in Brooklyn, but of course, throughout the five boroughs. And standing behind me to my left and my right you're seeing many of the people responsible for that success, and boy did they work hard. We have representatives from the FDNY, the New York City Sheriff's Department — office, the Department of Buildings, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Sanitation Department, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, among others.
I just want to introduce some of the commissioners that are here: Jessica Tisch, commissioner of the Department of Sanitation; Eric Ulrich, commissioner of Buildings; Laura Kavanagh, commissioner of the Fire Department of New York; Rohit Aggarwala, commissioner of Environmental Protection; Anthony Miranda, New York City sheriff; David Doe, commissioner of the TLC, Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of Department of Health; Deanna Logan, director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice; Anthony Newerls, executive director of BIVO; Lawrence Moses, New York City Department of Transportation; and, of course, also, Pastor Gilford Monrose, he's the mayor's clergy liaison, and we also have Fred Kreizman, community affairs commissioner. Also, we have here a lot of other people here that they're going to be speaking.
But I want to introduce, of course, here we are in One Police Plaza, of course, our executive staff. Starting off, of course, with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Edward Caban, first deputy commissioner, Kim Royster, chief of transportation. We also have down here Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey; and we also have with us Assistant Chief Michael Kemper, he's Patrol Borough Brooklyn South; and Assistant Chief Judith Harrison, Patrol Borough Brooklyn North.
Now we are being on-topic for this press conference because tomorrow we also have another very, very important presser here releasing our August numbers. They're very important and I think you'll find these numbers very interesting in terms of how we are dealing in this city, collectively here to deal with the problem of combating crime and making people safe. We are going to now present the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. One thing I inherited when I became the mayor of the city — I remember speaking to Bernadette from the Post saying that this place was a mess, and it was. It was not a mess because of the people, it was a mess because we build these imaginary walls and barriers. And we really never was there to stand with the men and women every day that carry out the function of having a city this complex operate. And we saw the failures over and over again, and we had to rebuild a team. We had to rebuild a team that didn't operate in silos, that operated together. And that was a challenging thing to do.
And we put together the heads of agencies; some of them were veterans that were around government for a long time, but also those who were new and just had a desire of doing the job they were hired to do. If you were DSNY, you just wanted to have a clean city. If you were NYPD, you wanted people to be safe. If you were TLC, you wanted to make sure that those who were driving people in for-hire vehicles were doing their jobs. And that's what we had to accomplish.
And that came to a head this weekend with J'Ouvert. We all know it, we know the ritual. We pick up the paper the day after West Indian Day weekend and you look at the number of homicides, how many shootings took place, what happened at the parade. It didn't happen this weekend, it did not happen. Why? Because four days out we brought together our commissioners and we said, "We're going to be a team, and we're going to continue the teamwork that we have been producing throughout the last nine months."
So instead of New York City Police Department having to do everything to keep our city safe during J'Ouvert — double parked vehicles in residential communities that were often ignored, we did not do that. We had, with the NYPD, the department of — DOT was there to immediately tow those vehicles or give them a clear signal that it is not acceptable. Loud parties where people disregarded those who wanted to live in their communities and were playing music into the late evening hours, NYPD was no longer there alone, we had DEP there who had sound meters. And we told the residents and those who were having the bars and other celebrations, that if you did not comply, you will have a summons in the mail, and we will take equipment if need be.
And those makeshift locations where year after year we had shootings coming from, every year, we knew they were a trouble spot using the data from the Police Department. NYPD was not able to go inside in previous years to tell them they could not use their locales, but this time we were able to do so. Why? Because we had the Department of Buildings with us who utilized their authority to go inside and close down those establishments before they became trouble spots. We used the full scope of every agency and their capabilities. These men and women who are here with us today, Sunday night, they were there days before from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. And they were not doing it complaining. For those four days, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, they were willing to do their jobs and coming together and operating as a team to make our city safe.
And because of that, we saw a celebration without that traditional violence that was attached. We walked through the parkway and during the day people stated, "We were expecting to read the headlines of what we traditionally heard and what we traditionally saw." It wasn't there. We know our capabilities. We had to dismantle those walls. We had to bring down the feeling that we were in it alone, and we had to have the backs of each other. No one invites the cop to a birthday party, they invite them there when the party was shot up. No invites the sheriff to come and attend an event, they invite him there when it's time to carry out his duty or his job.
But I just want to say thank you to all of our city agencies, to the men and women who came together and stated we have a good product. That product lies in our people. Those people have been often ignored, and they're not going to be ignored under this administration. And then our civilian partners, the crisis management team, they were out there every day making sure they quelled the conflicts before they materialized. Pastor Monrose and the God Squad and the other volunteers, our city came together to stop a tradition of not allowing our Caribbean diaspora to celebrate with the level of peacefulness they deserve.
I was proud to walk up the parkway. I was proud to represent this city as the mayor, as we dealt with celebrating the return of the Caribbean Day Parade and J'Ouvert and making sure that we can keep people safe. Zero fatalities at the parade, zero homicides, the best of New York was served by the best people in New York and that is the men and women that makes up the organizations and agencies of this city. And I'm proud to be the mayor of this city and agencies that are involved, and I want to personally say thank you, on behalf of the 8.8 million New Yorkers that watch you do your job every day, going unnoticed. But you carry out that performance every day. I'm going to turn it over to our amazing police commissioner, thank her and her team for what they accomplished. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell: Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for being here. Again, thank you, Mr. Mayor. I want to highlight our collective hard work and the positive measures that were implemented that put public safety front and center as we approached this past Labor Day weekend. As you know, the holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, which this year, in New York City, saw the in-person return of the annual J'Ouvert and West Indian American Day festivities.
Without question, the reason that the event ran smoothly and as safely as it did is the exhaustive collaborative efforts of many of the people representing the agencies in this room, but nothing was more important to our success than the partnerships and relationships we forge with the people we serve. I'm talking about the J'Ouvert City International and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, of course, but I am also talking about the millions of residents, workers, and visitors to all the neighborhoods in Brooklyn and beyond, wherever we had special events. New Yorkers have embraced what they know to be a reality, that public safety is truly a shared responsibility. Without full community buy in, none of this would've been possible.
Prior to the weekend, Chief of Department Ken Corey went over our plans and told you that when it comes to safeguarding large events around the five boroughs, our mantra is preparedness, and it always has to be. Arm in arm with our partners, our planning was thoughtful and comprehensive. And by working with every public and private stakeholder, we delivered a successful and enjoyable time. We are all very aware of the incidents of the past, as the mayor stated. This year from the organizers, to the marchers, to the drummers and dancers, to all of the agencies tasked with making sure things stayed safe for all involved, there were people who believed and knew that things could be done differently while maintaining all that is amazing about the festivities and allowing everyone to enjoy the culture and diversity that makes New York City so great. Chief of Patrol Jeff Maddrey will now discuss some of the details we enacted that helped make us have the third best Labor Day weekend this city has seen related to violence in the modern CompStat era. Chief Maddrey.
Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey, Police Department: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Commissioner Sewell. Thank you to everybody here. I did my first J’Ouvert 2001 as a lieutenant in the 67. When I just sit here and think about it, how much I ran around that night. Shooting after shooting, stabbing after stabbing, tragedy after tragedy. When I look at 2022 and what we did this year, and even looking back through the years, how we continuously evolved and became better and better at celebrating J’Ouvert and policing J’Ouvert. But I think this year, through my eyes, I've seen the best collaboration with the NYPD, multiple city agencies, a crisis management system in the community.
We all had an overarching goal to make sure that this celebration came back. We wanted everyone to really celebrate. It has been a long two years, but it was all about safety. Safety. We wanted a peaceful event. And the last thing we wanted to do was conduct enforcement out there, the last tool we wanted to resort to. Which we would do if need be, but was absolutely the last thing we wanted to do.
The event was incredibly successful. I mean, you could feel the love in the air out there over the past two days. The people saying thank you and the support they were giving to the men and women of the Police Department and all the agencies. The thank you’s. I took hundreds of pictures out there with people in the community because they were just so happy to be back and celebrating and celebrating peacefully. A lot of time and energy went into this plan and preparation. And again, it was a collaborative effort and everybody stepped up and did what we needed to do to make sure, again, that this event was peaceful, that it was safe and that our communities could feel like they were able to celebrate and have a good time without the police or any city agency on top of them.
I want to give a special thank you to Pastor Monrose from the God Squad. Camara Jackson from Elite Learners, AT Mitchell from Man Up, Anthony Newerls from BIVO. Let me tell you how refreshing it was for me personally, to hear members of this department calling for them, “Hey, we need God Squad over here, we want to break up a party. We want to tell people they have to turn the music down.” When they were calling, seeing Elite Learners standing out there 4 in the morning on Nostrand and Church, one of our toughest corners every year. This was done differently and this is why we were so successful.
I wanted to take time and say thank you to those very handsome looking men and women over there, they looked so good in those uniforms there, from the chief of patrol’s Community Response Team. This was something when I took over chief patrol, I decided to create. It was just really about showing leadership and being able to address quality of life and help out the communities as they called. What they did out there over the weekend, all the men and women of the Police Department, what they did out here this weekend. But this group of men and women seizing 40 illegal ATVs and dirt bikes out there on the parade route, after the parade route during J’Ouvert. Taking two illegal firearms off the street. Working closely with the sheriffs, with the Department of Buildings, with DEP, with the Fire Department, Sanitation, DOT, TLC. We were able to go to house parties and show a lot of restraint and let people still celebrate. DEP used the sound meter and we were able to tell people the proper level they could have their music playing without it breaking the law and without disturbing their neighbors. We did that effectively, multiple times out there.
As the mayor mentioned, a place on Ralph Avenue historically that we had trouble with this year — going as a team, being able to use the administrative power of other agencies. We were able to stop problematic places before they even got off the ground. So it was very important. And again, just all the men and women who are out there standing tall, alert, on their feet for long hours doing a great job in making sure everybody was safe. And that's why we're able to stand here today and report no homicides at J’Ouvert. No homicides at the Labor Day parade. And again, thank you to everybody here for the collaboration.
Now, I had a leadership role and we all had a leadership role, but there was one leader who I would like to bring up who lived this, who immersed himself into Flatbush, into J’Ouvert, into Labor Day. And he was able to bring the community together, bring the resource together better than any time I ever seen before. Chief Kemper, the borough commander of Brooklyn South, please come up. And I personally thank you for what you did out there this weekend.
Chief of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Michael M. Kemper, Police Department: Thank you, Chief Maddrey, for your kind words. Mr. Mayor, commissioner, to everyone in the room. I'm so excited to be here and I wish I had hours to speak to you about just how good I feel right now and the reasons why. Planning, execution, and results. And trust me, there was so much planning that went into this weekend and the results. Well, the results, they speak for themselves. The collaboration to ensure safety and to allow celebration for the community was like none other. A big goal of ours going into this weekend certainly was to recognize the deep meaning of what this weekend represents to the Caribbean community, but also to allow celebration. And very importantly, how can we as a department achieve this by avoiding unnecessary police community conflict. Think about that. How could we not make the narrative against the police and allow a community to celebrate?
Just want to thank a few people in this collaboration for really, really coming together and getting this done. First and foremost, our greatest asset in my opinion, and I might be biased in saying this, the NYPD. My team at the NYPD, in particular, Patrol Borough Brooklyn South worked tirelessly for months to put this together. My team knows who they are. I can't mention every name. Just understand this, I am so appreciative and thankful, and I'm privileged to work alongside you. To every cop in New York City that worked this weekend, whether it was J’Ouvert, West Indian Day Parade.
I think some people forget everything else that was going on this weekend, particularly in Brooklyn. We had a series of six concerts over three nights behind the Brooklyn Museum, Caribbean-themed. We had a large children's parade that occurred Saturday morning across Eastern Parkway attended by thousands. We had a series of events in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Caribbean concerts, bands, DJ music, the Cyclones were nice enough to have a couple of games throughout the weekend also. We got the job done.
To our partners that helped us and worked with us. In particular, Mayor Adams — you and your team at City Hall, to every city agency that participated. Again, not enough time to speak of all of them, but they know who they are. True collaboration with all our city partners. In particular from City Hall, MOCJ, and their relationship with us — probably a relationship and a system put in place that has never been done before. The Community Affairs Unit led by Commissioner Fred Kreizman, active participants in our planning and moving forward.
Of course, to the events’ organizers WIADCA and J’Ouvert City International. To our clergy. Our clergy was with us in training, in boots on the ground with us on the ground at certain situations that we were trying to avoid conflict to help mitigate problems from getting big. Same thing with our violence interrupters, to the elected officials that were with us in our planning, in our execution of our plans, thank you so much. And again, I'm going to end it with this, and I apologize if I left anyone off. There's way too many people that were involved in this. To the team at the NYPD. You guys and gals are 100 percent the greatest cops in the world. Keep your heads up and be proud.
Pastor Gilford Monrose, Faith Advisor, Office of the Mayor: You forget to introduce me. Just kidding… [Laughter.]
All right. Good morning to everyone. As a proud son of St. Lucian parents, immigrants to the U.S. Virgin Islands and born in the Virgin Islands, again, it has always been my distinct pleasure to have then borough president who is now the mayor, Mayor Eric Adams, to entrust in me the care and the culture of the Caribbean after some really high profile shootings in Brooklyn. Over the years, we have developed a really concerted, but very consistent way of dealing with our community conflict. What is not going to be reported of course, that Chief Kemper mentioned, a lot of conflicts. We spent 36 hours, our time on the ground was 36 hours. And thank you for putting this press conference at 1 o’clock because we'll still be sleeping. But 36 hours, the men and women of clergy stood on those familiar places, mitigating conflicts, working with the NYPD, working with law enforcement, working with department heads. Thanks to the police commissioner again for giving the resources needed to do this. Thank you, again, to Deanna Logan and everyone at MOCJ who is closely working not only with Cure Violence, but also with community leaders, anti-violence groups on the ground.
J’Ouvert and Carnival is a great celebration. And I think that it's a gem that has been hidden and really scarred by violence. But if you look at it, in the Caribbean is the safest place in the world, zero wars, no conflicts. And so for us to be painted even as being violent — well, then we can tie into a culture, again, the work that we do and the work that I do as the faith advisor to the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, in this particular role is to make sure that our cultures preserve. But also that people can really enjoy your weekend closing out the summer. So for me, as a faith leader working — passing within the East Flatbush area, working for over the last eight years with the mayor in Brooklyn and now coming to City Hall, the collaborative effort of CAU with Fred Kreizman and his team, and all of the agencies, you really see that, again, community partnership really can come to this place.
I came up with this thought today, is that at the expense of safety is the cost of availability. We avail ourselves this weekend to be there for our community and I want to thank, again, our party promoters who really worked with us. This one individual on President Street and Utica who agreed that he should turn down the music. That for us is really community partnership, and so we want to thank them very much.
And I trust and pray not only that we had a great Labor Day weekend this summer, but we also have a great winter as well. Thank you so much. Now I'll call one of our community partners who was on the ground with us throughout the weekend, Anthony Newerls from BIVO. Thank you.
Anthony Newerls, Executive Director, Brownsville In Violence Out: Thank you. Thank you everyone. I'm glad to be here. I want to definitely say thank you to all of the agencies up here. The collaboration was great. I normally don't bring bags to a press conference, so you got to excuse me for bringing the bags that's under my eyes because I'm definitely tired. I'm definitely going to share that. This took a lot of planning. We put any differences aside, and the only thing that was important to us was collaboration for the city, for the people of the City of New York, safety. I'm going to steal Eric's, Mayor Adams', GSD because we definitely got safety done. We got stuff done, but GSD, hashtag that, getting safety done. The ladies and the gentlemen and the brothers and sisters up here today absolutely did that. This was weeks and months of planning.
I want to give my crisis management system director, Deanna Logan, a praise because just when we thought we had it, not only did she — she was satisfied with it — but she came to our office to make sure we had it. That was something good. Deanna came to Brooklyn, to the CAMBA, headquarters of Brownsville In Violence Out, and made sure that our detailed plan was accurate and it was for the safety of the people. So definitely we want to thank Elite Learners, we want to thank Man Up, A.T., I know you didn't get no sleep. BTTM, SOS Crown Heights. This was a collaborative effort. I want to thank Chief Maddrey, Chief Kemper, thank you.
This is a city coming together, I thought — and I knew it would, because of the leadership of our mayor, Eric Adams. We had over 400 people on Tapscott Street in Brownsville. And the biggest disagreement we had to resolve was if Eric Adams was coming to their J'Ouvert. Because the people work together. So Eric, I did tell them, I said, "Eric is not going to come to J'Ouvert. He doesn't dance as good as Gil. So he's going to send Gil."
So Gil, thank you for continuing your relationship with the community. We supported throughout Brooklyn North, Brooklyn South, wherever we was called, the Crisis Management System, we went. We did resolve various, many conflicts that could have resorted to a violent act, but it didn't. We even was bribed into 10 cases of water to end the party early. [Laughter.] Honestly. But if that's the cost of safety for this city, we are willing to do it. So thank you, commissioner. Thank you, Mayor Adams, A.T., the crisis management system at NYPD.
This is something that you're going to see moving forward. No more silos, no more you doing this and we doing that. It's time for the city to come together so the city can be safe. This is everyone's mayor, everyone's police commissioner, and we are here to support New York City and the safety of the residents from New York City.
So, Deanna, thank you for your leadership. We're going to continue the support. Eric Adams, thank you my brother. I appreciate your leadership. And the brothers and sisters of NYPD, I have to give y'all your due. Because wherever we said we got this, y'all stepped back and you gave us the opportunity to resolve any potential conflict. So I thank y'all so much, Anthony Newerls, Brownsville In Violence Out, and I represent the crisis management system and team GSD, getting safety done. Thank y'all.
Question: Hi everybody. So, first question I had is — this obviously reminds me of the incident with Carey Gabay a few years back and if I remember correctly he was caught in the crossfire between two crews or two gangs that were shooting. Can you elaborate a little bit on if there was any incidents that got… Were you able to head it off at the pass, or you were able to squash any beefs before they became very violent, before we had another tragic incident like that? And if you could also offer any details, were there any enforcement actions that happened in the weeks leading up to J'Ouvert where somebody that was a very known violent offender who was responsible for a lot of violence was apprehended? And because of that, there's some correlation to a drop in the violence that we saw this weekend?
Commissioner Sewell: So broadly, I think we always have to operate using predictive analysis. And so, as it relates to the drivers of violence and the drivers of crime, we have to identify those ahead of time and to be able to get ahead of it. And I think in this instance, working together as a team, we were able to do that. To your question about were there things we were able to head off over the weekend, I think we reported on a gun arrest that we made over the weekend as well, a subject was coming into that area with a firearm. He was quickly apprehended, and that firearm was seized. So I think everything that we do we have to be able to project what may or may not happen. We have to be able to deploy our resources so we can head off any trouble before it gets to us. Doing this, as the mayor stated, going up to J'Ouvert into the West Indian American Day Parade, we were out before that time, making sure we addressed issues that could potentially become a problem. So having that forward view and being able to forecast the potential drivers of violence to that area, I think made all the difference.
Question: So this year… When's the last time we didn't have any shootings during this event? Can you tell me? Is this the first time? Chief Maddrey, probably I think you could address that.
Commissioner Sewell: Last time we didn't have shootings is the question.
Chief Maddrey: You know what? I actually have the information upstairs. I actually took a look at it. I'll get back to you with it, but it's been a while. I mean, even last year, not last year, 2019, we had the big MOS-involved shooting not too far away. So let me take a look and I'll get those, that information for you.
Question: Okay. And a second question real quick for you or Chief Kemper, what was the number one thing you did tactic-wise that you think really made a difference this year? Was it getting people to not celebrate at the very beginning of the parade and sort of spacing out the people who were performing?
Chief Maddrey: And Mikey can jump in and help me out. But I think we had a lot of resources out there. We had the cops spread out, the cops were alert. We had crisis management out there. They were in their uniforms as well, very visible. And I think it just helped out. Mike had the clergy involved. He had the community involved.
Mike did a training where every member of this department saw a video which explained what J'Ouvert was about, what the Labor Day parade is about, the meaning culturally, what it's about. And I had an opportunity to turn out a group of men and women at the 67 Precinct yesterday. And when I spoke to them and told them about my experiences from 2001 till now, the main thing I pointed out to them was I did this years ago and this [inaudible] totally different because there was a pastor praying for them and there was a community member out there explaining to them exactly what this weekend was all about. The collaboration was very strong, the best ever I ever witnessed. And I think it paid off. I think it paid off. I think everybody was out there. The message was out there and the results show.
Mayor Adams: That was a good question. What was the number one thing? There's not enough time to go through everything we did. But since Chief Maddrey brought up the training, that's something I'm proud of. And it's something… It's a component that had so much value. It offered so much value for so many reasons. Transparency. But really, I said this the other day, 31 years ago, I came on this job and I used to police this event and we used to get our assignments and our direction was very simple. Take your post. Didn't understand why we were here. There was no clear direction.
2022 NYPD is different. So our training going into the weekend for our police officers has really, really been upgraded, if you will. It's many layers. I'll talk about three layers that probably hold the most value was training every single New York City cop on the meaning of J'Ouvert and West Indian Day Parade. That's number one. That was supplemented by every police officer that attended these events while they were mustered up, were standing ready to go out to their post, were addressed by two groups. Check this out. Two groups addressed them in person. The NYPD, again, reinforcing our training to them. Explaining to them why are they here? What does J'Ouvert represent? What to expect?
And then a member of the community, actually multiple members of the community addressed them in person. Elected officials — every single cop that was assigned to these details or events were addressed by local elected officials and members of clergy, right? Again, elected officials and members of clergy are also members of the community. They have an understanding of what these events mean and what to expect. So I think just to end this with a New York City cop going to an event, having an understanding of why they're there, what the meaning is behind these events, deep cultural significance. What to expect from why are people wearing makeup? Why are people throwing powder? Why are people excited? Just having that level of understanding of what they're about to experience. It's nothing new when they see it on the street live in person. So listen, again, I'll end with this. There's so much that was done this weekend, but just to touch on the training, I thought it was extremely valuable and paid many, many dividends.
Question: Hi. The implication from all the speakers is that things were handled differently and better this year. So I'd like to ask one or more of the chiefs, can address how specifically things were done better than in the previous administration?
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, I didn't get the last part.
Question: Specifically how things were handled differently this year than they were in the previous administration. Thank you.
Mayor Adams: Go ahead, chief.
Chief Maddrey: Well, like I said, and we already touched on the training, but we could touch on the technology. Alright? I mean, our use of air support this year, aviation being up all weekend long. Using some of their technology, helping us identify parties that may be too big, being able to go there with different agencies who had the power to do things we couldn't do. I think that there, that whole plan in of itself gave us an advantage we've never had before in the past. Like I said, we were able to go over to a place where historically we had problems, we were able to stop the party before it even got started because we had the Department of Buildings with us. Alright? We were able to go, not only address 311 complaints and loud music with NYPD. We had DEP there. We allowed a lot of parties to continue because we were able to check the music, show the people what sound level they should be at.
The people were very compliant. They cooperated. They did what we asked and people were allowed to continue their celebration. And we were able to accomplish our mission of answering those 311 jobs. Like I said, there was a lot of support between the various agencies with CMS. And like I said, I believe that this collaboration was the strongest it's ever been. Because it was so strong, we were able to be successful and officers were out there. They were out there. They're highly visible, spread out. In the one little dust that we did have, the officers were able to stop it right away. So, we had no serious injuries, no issues out there.
Mayor Adams: And if I could, I just want to add onto that, which is, I think, it's so important that the difference, I think, between what we are doing and what previous administrations were not willing to do is using all of our tools, all of our assets. Public safety is not a police issue. Every agency must be involved in public safety.
The training, as we're seeing with these dirt bikes and ATVs, the training that Chief Royster’s Highway Unit trained our officers on how to properly go after these dirt bikes. We've removed hundreds of ATVs, illegal dirt bikes, many of them carrying weapons. When you look at what DOB, Department of Buildings, is doing, as well as what the sheriff is doing. The sheriff has reinvented that office. Everything from the marijuana, towing the vehicles, to going in and looking at who's selling these illegal bikes. And so we're using and utilizing all of our tools. And what all of these men and women have been saying for many years, "Coach, get us in the game." They've been sitting on the bench and they've been trying to play on team public safety. Well, we got a coach that's putting them in the game.
Question: Thanks. This is for anyone who wants to answer, but why in particular is it this event that is plagued by violence? Chief Maddrey, you said it's been a while since there hasn't been a bloody celebration. So, why is this event different than other festivals that happen throughout the city?
Commissioner Sewell: Sure. So, we look at all events. Without focusing on this one, obviously we've talked about the events of the past and if this has been plagued by violence in the past. But we look at events across the entire city and we recognize the fact that this event has been plagued by violence in the past. We have to put the resources there. But make no mistake about it, we do an analysis of all events before we put a plan together.
Question: And then commissioner, you mentioned earlier that there was a gun arrest, a firearm. What specifically was that? What happened?
Commissioner Sewell: So an individual attempted to enter the area of the parade with a firearm. He was noticed by officers who were assigned and that apprehension was made and the firearm was seized.
Question: And whereabouts was this?
Commissioner Sewell: It was in the area of the West Indian Day Parade.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I know you've talked quite a bit in your time as mayor about the sort of oversaturation of the police response at some of these events and how you were looking to tackle that. I wanted to see how the police staffing levels at this J’Ouvert compared to previous J’Ouverts and also how much overtime was used this weekend?
Mayor Adams: Yeah. And you hear me say over and over again, the deployment of our resources. And it was something that the police commissioner and I talked about, the deployment of resources. How we're utilizing our resources. And all of our events, when you do an analysis, to her credit and the chief of department's credit, they have looked at all of our events and they scale back on the number of assignments and overtime, event after event, we are analyzing every event and we're no longer just going into the file cabinet, pulling out the plan from the previous year. We are thinking differently about the proper deployment of our manpower. Anyone who has attended the parade previously, there was a noticeable difference in how officers were deployed. You didn't see the 20, 30 officers standing at one place. They were along the parade route and we're going to do even better.
We're going to continue to produce a better product over and over again because if we utilize the manpower correctly, then we could have our police officers deployed in those areas of the city where we are dealing with real threats. So, look at all of these events over this summer and you're going to recognize how the chief of department was successful under the leadership of the commissioner of properly retrofitting the manpower to where it was needed. Looking at overtime, handling overtime correctly, turning out those who can do patrol that are in desk duties. So, we're looking at the entire chess board and producing a better product for taxpayers. They deserve better and we're going to give them better. And that is what we have saw over the last few months over the summer.
Question: So, are you able to say after this year staffing levels were lower this year...
Mayor Adams: As in at this event? Yes they were. Yes they were.