Police Department Sued Over Planned Downtown Command Center

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The New York Sun

A group of Chinatown residents is suing the police department over plans to build a new command center in Lower Manhattan.

Local residents and business owners have locked horns with the police for years over what they call onerous security measures that strangle their neighborhood. In a suit filed in state court yesterday, they demanded that the city conduct an environmental impact review for a new Joint Operations Command Center slated for construction on Park Row.

The plaintiffs, which include two apartment buildings, claim that the command center would disrupt traffic and parking in an area that has already suffered from street closures in place since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“The NYPD has consistently taken a ‘no look’ approach, preferring (yet again) not to involve the Chinatown community,” the suit states.

The police department, which had not reviewed the suit as of yesterday, said it is not required to conduct the additional land-use studies that the plaintiffs are demanding. It is trying to accommodate the neighborhood’s needs, a spokesman, Michael Collins, said.

“We don’t anticipate any negative effects,” he said. “We have been meeting and working with the community to address concerns.”

As an example, he noted that the police department has opened up Park Row to bus traffic.

The command center, expected to cost $13.8 million, according to the suit, would feature state-of-the-art systems for coordinating police activity and responding to major disasters such as terrorist attacks.

The city’s Department of Design and Construction, as well as the Department of City Planning, were also named as defendants in the suit. Representatives for those agencies could not be reached for comment yesterday evening.

The New York Sun

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