NYPD Neighborhood Safety Teams make 'poster child' arrest in Bronx on 1st night

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- In the very first night of operation, NYPD officers from the newly formed Neighborhood Safety Teams stopped a reputed Bloods gang member in the Bronx and recovered an illegal loaded ghost gun.

Chief of Department Kenneth Corey ticked through the suspect's extensive record, and Mayor Eric Adams blasted him as "the poster child" of the new anti-gun initiative.

Adams visited a training facility Wednesday for one of the new teams in Queens, as the first wave began patrolling 28 neighborhoods earlier this week.

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They're tasked with taking guns off the street and are a key part of Adams' crime-fighting plan, targeting 30 precincts where 80% of the city's violent crime happens.

"These deployments are flexible and will adapt to changing conditions in the field," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.

The officers have been carefully vetted, and each of them is a volunteer.

"Our Risk Management Bureau takes a deep dive into everyone of these officers," Corey said.

The NYPD reports that 15-20% of the officers who applied were not accepted, and for those who were, their body worn cameras will not be turned off.

They will not hit the streets until completing a seven-day training course, training that will be repeated.

"Consisted of scenario-based constitutional policing, court room testimony, investigative encounters. car stop workshops, and more importantly, community relations," Chief of Training Juanita Holmes said.

NYPD brass said the teams were on the ground just two hours into Monday when they came in contact with the gang member carrying the ghost gun.

The same individual was arrested three times for illegal gun possession in the past year and has been accused in the past of a carjacking and a stabbing. He was also charged in a non-fatal shooting.

"This Is what we talk about when we talk about drivers of violence in our community," Corey said. "The very small number of people who are responsible for the overwhelming majority of the violence."

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These are the criminals the NYPD wants of thee streets, even as the mayor admits the limitations of the neighborhood safety teams.

"We're going to continue taking the guns off the streets, but we need help," he said.

The NYPD says they've already begun their community outreach to get feedback, hosting listening sessions and roundtables.

Each neighborhood safety team will be introduced at precinct council meetings, engagement that the NYPD says will continue.

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