Borough President Vito Fossella stood united with police leaders, including Detectives' Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo and Lieutenants' Benevolent Association President Lou Turco, to issue a call to action following a surge in violence against police officers this year.
They demanded accountability, urging legislators for new policies, which include a no-plea agreement for assaults on police officers, prioritizing the safety of both our officers and our city.
As of November 2023, there have been 3,200 assaults on police officers throughout the year. On average, once every three hours of every day, a police officer is assaulted. Assaults against police officers are up more than 21% from 2022 and 41% from 2021.
Borough President Fossella said the numbers illustrate failed policies that seem to protect too many criminals, while punishing victims and police officers.
“The main reason we are here right now is because there is a shocking development in the city -- there is a tremendous rise in the attacks on police officers every single day,” he said during a press conference in the DEA’s headquarters in Manhattan. “What seems to be emblematically happening across the state and across parts of the country is just a total reckless abandonment of doing the right thing and a lawlessness that continues to grow without any accountability or any consequence. When the criminals are out there, and they’re stopped and they’re asked to show ID or whatever the case may be, on a subway or a street, rather than comply, what do they do? They start a fight with the police officer. And why do they do it? Because they can get away with it.”
He recalled the bravery of those who lost their lives while keeping New York City safe.
“We stand united because we don’t want to see another name on the wall downstairs,” said Borough President Fossella. “This is a very significant time to understand that we should never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our city. We don’t want to have to go to another police funeral because things escalated and a cop was killed.”
Earlier on in the day, Vito had the honor of attending the unveiling of the Memoriam for our fallen detectives and police officers—a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made for our city's safety. We must work diligently to protect those who protect us.
A Life-Saving Measure: $12M In Opioid Funding To Be Invested In Staten Island Organizations To Support Addiction Treatment And Prevention
Borough President Vito Fossella was on hand as Mayor Eric Adams announced $12 million over the next four years to Staten Island nonprofits that provide treatment and prevention for opioid addiction. The funds were secured by Attorney General Letitia James from settlements reached in her numerous lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
These funds will be directed exclusively to Staten Island organizations that offer a range of intervention services, including treatment, outreach, harm reduction, housing, and employment assistance.
“The words devastation, tragedy and destruction are used very often, but those three words are very apt when it comes to opioids,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference in Richmond University Medical Center. “We know of parents who say, ‘I am just waiting for that phone to ring at 3 o’clock in the morning because I don’t know if my son is going to make it.’ We all know somebody who has been affected and we all know somebody who has died. Our goals and our jobs are to try to prevent that.”
The numbers are somber: Last year, 3,026 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose, a 12% increase from 2021, with Staten Island accounting for 5% of all overdose deaths citywide and the city’s second highest overdose rate.
Neighborhoods such as Port Richmond, Stapleton, and St. George reported overdose rates far above the citywide average, with the sixth and 13th highest rates in the city.
Borough President Fossella and his fellow elected officials had been stonewalled in past attempts to obtain funding to combat Staten Island’s opioid epidemic “that has disproportionately affected our borough.”
When he brought it to the attention of Attorney General James, she answered “we’re with you.” He credited Mayor Adams and applauded the borough’s healthcare professionals.
“Very often in government when the answer is no, people tend to circle the wagons and say, we’re not doing it no matter how wrong they might be, but Mayor Eric Adams stood up and said let’s take care of Staten Island,” said Borough President Fossella. “To the health care professionals who dedicate their lives saving people here at Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital, we thank you for your devotion to this community."