Friday, January 22, 2010

City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley Appointed Chair of Fire and Criminal Justice Committee...

Today, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) was appointed Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee. Council Member Elizabeth Crowley will replace Council Member James Vacca as Chair of the Committee, who will move on to become Chair of the Committee on Transportation.

"I believe that the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice is one of the most important committees with regards to the safety and protection of all New Yorkers, and it is an honor to serve as Chair," said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. " As Chair I will prioritize the protection and safety needs of all New Yorkers to ensure that, come budget time, these vital services are not compromised. I look forward to working with New York's five district attorneys and the courts to tackle issues such as victims rights, corrections, crime prevention and intervention and domestic violence. I also look forward to working with the FDNY and the Bloomberg Administration to ensure that there is clear communication between the fire agencies and the public on ways to improve our fire safety.”

Since taking office, Council Member Crowley has been a very active and involved member of New York City’s Fire and Criminal Justice Committee. Most recently, Council Member Crowley took on the Bloomberg Administration with regards to the failed Unified Call Taking (UCT) system. In response to a string of breakdowns in the new UCT system, which delayed fire emergency response time by minutes, Council Member Crowley demanded the Administration revert back to the old emergency system in which citizens reporting the emergency speak directly to trained fire dispatchers rather than a general operator. After Council Member Crowley and her colleagues demanded immediate action from the Administration, the Police and Fire Departments agreed to temporarily revert back to the old system while the 911 callers received additional training.

When 16 fire companies were slated to close last year, Council Member Crowley met with every fire company in her district, hosted town hall meetings, organized and rallied with firefighters, fire officers, residents and fellow City officials to protest the closings. As a result of these efforts, $17 million was restored to the FDNY, avoiding both a loss of personnel and fire company closings. Council Member Crowley has been specifically credited to keeping Fire Company 271 open which serves residents in her council district. Multiple fire companies have been rumored to go up on the chopping block again this year.