COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY

O’Neill: Brooklyn College should embrace cops, not ‘push them away’

November 21, 2017

By Caroll Alvarado, Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding

Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Monday ripped Brooklyn College for trying to keep cops off their campus by restricting officers who have to relieve themselves to a run-down bathroom on the far end of campus.

“Now is the time for everyone to get together. If you take a look at what is going on around the city, now’s the time for people to get to know their police officers, not to push them away,” O’Neill said.

“God forbid anything does happen in Brooklyn College, we want to make sure our cops — not only those from the [70th Precinct], but from whatever other divisions or bureaus might respond to that — we want them to know the layout of Brooklyn College.”

The top cop’s remarks also followed a ceremony in Queens to rename the NYPD Academy Library after the late Ben Ward, the city’s first black police commissioner.

“He went to Brooklyn College, so I don’t think he’d be really happy about it,” O’Neill noted.

At the same news conference, Mayor de Blasio said the school “should never ban any police presence on campus.”

“That makes no sense whatsoever,” Hizzoner said.

“But even if it’s a student group, I think it’s misguided. I agree with the commissioner.”

NYPD records show 75 calls to 911 for emergencies at the school — which has its own security force — so far this year.

Brooklyn College Director of Public Safety Donald Wenz last week told The Post that while all bathrooms were technically open to cops, the school preferred them to avoid being seen on campus because otherwise “some may interpret that as an emergency going on.”

Student body President Nissim Said also blamed anti-cop sentiment among students on an NYPD operation that sent an undercover cop to infiltrate the school’s Muslim community in search of Islamic terrorists.

In 2010, Brooklyn College grad Syed Hashmi was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sending waterproof socks and other gear to al Qaeda insurgents in Afghanistan he called “my brothers the noble mujahedeen.”

Brooklyn College freshman Farih Chowdhury, an observant Muslim who wears a traditional head covering, said Monday that she didn’t object to the NYPD’s presence on campus.

“I think they should be allowed to use any bathroom, because if they need to use it, I don’t mind. I don’t have a problem,” said Chowdhury, 18.

In a statement, college President Michelle Anderson said she met with NYPD brass Monday morning in a bid to “reassure them that members of the New York City Police Department are welcome to use our bathrooms.”

The head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Pat Lynch, said the college “needs to stand up for police officers and teach students to appreciate those who risk their lives so that they can get an education.”

“They will learn when they get out in the real world that police officers not only protect the rights of all to voice their opinions, regardless of how ill informed or moronic they may be, but we are the ones who will risk our lives to save them when an active shooter appears on campus,” he added.

Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli