In a press briefing on Tuesday, October 10th, Mayor Eric Adams stated that public and school safety is the cornerstone of the city’s prosperity. He emphasized that prosperity remains elusive without safety, adding that the well-being of the city’s children is paramount to his administration.
Adams spoke with media correspondents after returning from a Latin America tour. The trip was in response to the city’s unprecedented influx of migrants. The mayor aimed to gather firsthand information to address the situation effectively.
In the press briefing, the mayor and city officials covered various topics, from migration challenges and condemnation of Hamas attacks on Israeli citizens to school safety measures.
During the briefing, Mona Davids, founder and publisher of LittleAfrica News, questioned Mayor Adams on the city’s plans to enhance scanning at high schools. She also inquired about the reinstatement of the school safety division, which previously had police officers before their reassignment due to NYPD budget cuts.
The urgency of these inquiries was underscored by recent incidents, including the confiscation of two firearms inside co-located schools, Independence High School and Environmental High School, and the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old on an MTA bus in Staten Island last week.
In response to the question, Adams noted that while he has faced criticism from certain fringe elements opposed to school scanning, he firmly believes in its essential role in ensuring safety.
He said, “Idealism collides with realism often, and you cannot have an idealistic approach to public safety, you have to have a realistic approach to it. And I’m not going to allow the loudest to get in the way of protecting our schools.”
He added, “We have not had one mass shooting or shooting in our school buildings — not one.”
The firearms were seized after a parent alerted the authorities. The mayor stressed the significant role parents can play by informing management of potential threats.
Adams also announced that School Safety Agents would be equipped with bulletproof jackets for the first time in NYC, a major win for safety by the Adams administration.
NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell delved deeper into the topic, emphasizing the pivotal role of effective communication between the Department of Education and commanding officers.
He noted that these officers engage in weekly discussions with school principals, a practice that has proven invaluable for authorities in addressing school-related issues.
Chell detailed the department’s strategy to bolster the presence of Youth Coordinating Officers in precincts.
These officers oversee safety during school dismissals and patrol principal-identified hangout spots and corridors, extending their watch to major transit hubs.
Commenting on the rapid response to the firearms incident, Chell highlighted that prompt communication enabled the school to initiate “shelter mode” and conduct “reverse scanning,” underscoring the efficacy of the communication system in place.
He said, “We came up with two firearms and an imitation pistol…nothing happened that day other than that. No mass shooting. What did we prevent? Who knows, but we prevented it.”
Chell concluded, emphasizing the department’s approach, saying, “Strategy, communication, accuracy, deployment. And it’s working for us.”