New York Post
December 1, 2009

'Commuter' cops

By MURRAY WEISS and JOHN DOYLE

   Cops on train
 
NY Post: Chad Rachman
  STRANGE NEW TURF: NYPD cops on the lookout for terrorist activity patrol a Metro-North train heading from the city to Yonkers yesterday.

The NYPD has begun sending teams of uniformed city cops onto commuter trains to patrol the suburban rails outside the Big Apple in a surprise move that startled MTA police brass and angered their union officials, The Post has learned.

An NYPD sergeant and eight officers — all transit cops on overtime — made their maiden voyage on Nov. 24, boarding Metro-North trains out of Grand Central Terminal around 6:15 a.m. heading north to Yonkers on the Harlem River line, according to police sources.

The nine officers reached their destination at around 7 a.m., took a return trip south to the 125th Street Station and then switched to a northbound commuter train heading back up to Yonkers. They then headed back to Grand Central on an 8 a.m. rush-hour train.

Each cop was paid nearly three hours of overtime, which comes out of the recent $35 million in federal funds earmarked to help defray NYPD anti-terror train, bus and ferry salaries, according to sources.

The NYPD plans to send out the nine cops several times a week on random patrols as part of their expanding anti-terror efforts and push to bolster potential targets like the regional rail lines.

But MTA police union President Raymond Gimmler said his officers don't need the help.

"I think it is a waste of resources," Gimmler said. "The NYC transit system is their primary responsibility."

NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne responded that "there is always someone who wants to turn something good into a negative."

Patrick Lynch, the city's PBA president, however, also cast doubt about the use of NYPD resources outside the Big Apple.

"With 5,000 fewer police officers than we had on 9/11, we have to be concerned about programs like this taking even more officers out of the five boroughs," Lynch said.

But Browne explained that the NYPD has been coordinating coverage on trains for several years, including Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the LIRR. This "small team" of city officers rides their trains to the first stop outside the city and then returns.

murray.weiss@nypost.com