The funding will add an additional 18 officers and two sergeants to the precinct on a full-time basis. The satellite precinct was previously open from 7 a.m. to midnight.
“The problem with the satellite though is that it closed at midnight,” said Councilman Donovan Richards. “When most of the major crime in this area was happening between midnight and 5 a.m.”
In 2007, the Bloomberg administration created the satellite precinct to help the overburdened 105th Precinct, which covers the largest land area of any precinct with 12.7 square miles, 354 miles of roadways and seven major highways.
“The problem is that the 105th Precinct is located in Queens Village,” said Richards. “It takes a long time to get to this community if there's an incident.”
Richards discussed keeping the satellite precinct open 24 hours with Mayor Bill de Blasio a few months ago, and the mayor was very receptive to the idea.
“There's been an area of Rosedale that has continuously been a headache for this community,” Richards said. “But because of the lack of resources we had at this particular satellite, it was not feasible for us to really address this issue.”
Queens South Deputy Chief David Barrere said the extended hours will make the officers more accessible in the communities of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.
“We're really excited to be able to provide this community with the police service they deserve,” he said.
Richards said he and his colleagues will still push for a new precinct for south Queens, however.
“We've got more work to do,” said Councilman Barry Grodenchik. “We are about to introduce a resolution in the council that will call for the 116th Precinct. We are not going to stop.”
Bess DeBetham, who has been a member of the 116th Police Precinct Community Task Force for the past 40 years, was thankful that the north and south portions of the precinct will have equal protection.
“I am extremely pleased to know that we will have a satellite that will be open 24 hours a day to give protection to the community,” she said.
NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill said it's not immediately clear how much it would cost the city to turn the satellite into a full-time precinct, but added that it's ultimately about public safety.
“It's not the price of the building or what it costs,” he said. “The main thing is keeping people safe in the south end of the 105th.”