The City University of New York’s safety drive is so understaffed that campuses are dangerously “weak” amid surging crime in the Big Apple, insiders advised The Post.
The college system’s public security division has plummeted 40 p.c to about 900 sworn officers and safety assistants — down from some 1,500 earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, the sources stated.
The depend consists of roughly 600 sworn, or peace, officers who patrol campuses — about 300 lower than pre-pandemic ranges. Another 300 — about half the roster earlier than the pandemic — work as safety assistants sometimes stationed at buildings.
“Most of the universities are in dire straits,” one insider stated. “We’re in a disaster with security.”
The staffing scarcity places the system’s 25 campuses — which enrolled 243,000 college students within the fall of 2021 — in a “weak place,” one other insider stated.
“If one thing occurs we don’t have sufficient individuals to reply. We simply don’t,” stated the supply who works at certainly one of CUNY’s 11 senior faculties.
The peace officers additionally reply to crimes on campus perimeters, comparable to an Aug. 7 melee on West 136th Street adjoining to the City College campus, throughout which a 14-year-old lady was accused of stabbing a 13-year-old within the chest. And on July 9, a 14-year-old was fatally stabbed on the 137th Street subway station that serves CCNY.
Some of the taxpayer-funded colleges have needed to rent contracted assist to fill within the gaps, sources stated.
Poor pay and guards leaving for different legislation enforcement alternatives had been cited as causes for the shortage of employees. The wage for a peace officer tops out at $47,000 after seven years.
Most of CUNY’s peace officers should not allowed by their faculty presidents to hold weapons. City College, Lehman College within the Bronx, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and the College of Staten Island are amongst a handful the place officers are armed.
Other colleges lock up the weapons in places of work and officers have to sprint to get them.
“God forbid there’s an lively shooter, they must run to a locked field to get it in any other case it’s solely defending the Xerox machines proper now,” an insider stated.
At Brooklyn College — the place there was an unfounded lively shooter risk in February — public security division directors have weapons on them — however solely whereas they sit of their places of work, a spokesman stated.
“As a security precaution, the faculty doesn’t share particular particulars of its protocols associated to emergency conditions,” stated spokesman Richard Pietras.
The faculty referred to as in officers from different campuses the day after the February risk was made to a professor, saying it beefed up its employees “out of an abundance of warning.”
Some blame Andre Brown, who took over as CUNY’s government director of public security in December 2020 — regardless of by no means having been a police officer and missing the background to steer a big police division — for not doing sufficient to spice up recruitment.
“He’s by no means labored patrol in any company. He’s at all times been a desk jockey. He’s by no means been in our footwear,” one supply stated.
Brown, who was an assistant commissioner overseeing operations and police on the metropolis’s Administration for Children’s Services, was employed over candidates with extra legislation enforcement expertise.
A search committee ranked him beneath three others — Dawn Smallwood, who held the No. 2 safety put up at CUNY; Geraldine Hart, the Suffolk County Police commissioner; and Louis Molina, a former NYPD detective who’s now the town’s corrections commissioner, based on a supply acquainted with the hiring course of.
But, the supply stated, Hector Batista, CUNY’s chief working officer, pushed for Brown to be employed.
CUNY maintained that every one its appointments observe state Civil Service Law and the college’s insurance policies.
The college contended that safety staffing was carefully monitored to make sure that every campus is at protected ranges.
“Public Safety and legislation enforcement companies throughout the nation, together with CUNY’s, have been experiencing staffing shortages because the begin of the pandemic. We are targeted on ongoing methods to enhance recruitment and retention,” a CUNY spokeswoman stated.