Queens Chronicle August 14, 2013

Concannon slams stop-and-frisk ruling

Reform Party candidate is running against Weprin for City Council seat

by Liz Rhoades

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, center right, endorses Reform candidate Joe Concannon, center left, during a rally at City Hall last Thursday.

Law-and-order City Council candidate Joe Concannon, who is running to unseat Mark Weprin in the 23rd District, came down hard Tuesday on the stop-and-frisk ruling announced a day earlier.

A retired police captain, Concannon said U.S. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decision that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy violates the constitutional rights of minorities is a “thoughtless” ruling.

Concannon, 57, of Bellerose, called the judge “an out-of-touch ideologue” and her decision “pure hogwash.”

His campaign slogan is “Support Your Local Police,” which will be emblazoned on every sign, banner and bumper sticker. He has been circulating petitions for the Reform Party ballot line, a new anti-corruption, pro-law enforcement party, which Concannon says cuts across all party lines and he hopes will resonate with voters who have lost faith in the political system “and especially with the grievance peddlers like his opponent, incumbent Councilman Mark Weprin, who is demagoguing this issue to curry favor with fellow council members in order to win the race for council speaker,” his campaign said on Tuesday.

Weprin has opposed stop and frisk because he says too many innocent people have been stopped.

Concannon announced his candidacy last Thursday on the steps of City Hall, surrounded by all New York State law enforcement unions, who endorsed him based on his position against the City Council’s Community Safety Act, which places restrictions on police.

“Police officers do not engage in racial profiling,” he said. “They stop and question individuals about whom they have reasonable suspicion,” he said. “Stop, question and frisk is a lawful practice, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court ... It is an extensively used proactive policing method that is authorized by New York State Criminal Procedure Law and the New York State Constitution.”

In a telephone interview, Concannon told the Queens Chronicle that he is running to save lives: “Police Commissioner Kelly said over 7,000 New Yorkers’ lives have been saved over the years due to proper policing.”

He added that rather than tie the hands of police, “the public needs to be educated on what stop-and-frisk is, the benefits of the program and how it affects the safety of the community.”

Concannon said becoming a council member would not be a stepping stone for him, but something he feels compelled to do: “Decent people aren’t stepping up to the plate.”

Concannon is a 25-year veteran of the NYPD and a former senior analyst in the Mayor’s Office for public safety agencies. He founded the nonprofit InfraGard, a public-private collaboration for infrastructure protection. He is now president of Integris Security, a private sector firm.

Concannon previously ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) last year as a Republican.

The 23rd District includes Bellerose, Oakland Gardens, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Glen Oaks and parts of Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Queens Village and Hollis.

Petitions are due Aug. 20 and he hopes to have up to 5,000 signatures. He needs 450.