2004-02-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Always A Cop Around When You Really Need One

Always A Cop Around When You Really Need One

Rockaway residents, particularly those on the west end, often complain about the police officers that serve the community. The police are more concerned with giving out tickets to residents than they are in fighting crime, they say. Or, the police spend too much time looking for beer on the beach and not enough cracking down on drugs. Or, the police give a blind eye to problems on the shopping streets while lurking to catch motorists who may go a little too fast on Rockaway streets or might go through a yellow light. "There is never a cop when you need one unless they are there to collect money for the city," the new mantra goes. This weekend, however, proves the mantra untrue. On two occasions over the weekend, massive police resources were brought to the Rockaway community in order to capture wrongdoers. On Friday afternoon, a man sexually assaulted a teen-aged girl in Bayswater. Within minutes, helicopters were over the community, dozens of police from the Queens South Task Force were searching the area and canine units tracked the perpetrator. The stolen car that the man jumped from was quickly tracked to the Redfern Houses. While a massive search turned up nothing, police are sure they will soon have a suspect in hand. On Saturday, three youths attacked a mailman on Beach 126 Street. They punched him in the face and attempted to get both his wallet and his mail cart. Once again, there was a massive and nearly instantaneous response to the peninsula on the part of police officers from both the local precinct and from specialized units such as the Emergency Service Unit (ESU), Canine Unit and Aviation Unit. Two of the young men were quickly caught and a third was tracked by the dogs, but managed to evade those tracking him. There is no doubt that residents in Rockaway have seen a rise in the enforcement of "quality of life" issues over the past years, and that angers many who see the police more as revenue-raisers than as crime busters. They should know, however, that there is always a cop around whey they really need one.

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