NEW YORK (Jun. 18)
Plans were disclosed today by an Orthodox rabbi for creation of an auxiliary police force, to be made up of Orthodox Jews who will patrol the Boro Park section of Brooklyn as a permanent guard for the section’s residents. It will be the first such force in the history of the Boro Park Jewish community.
Rabbi Chaim Auerbach, a Boro Park yeshiva teacher, is founder and director of the force, for which 27 Jewish men have been recruited to date. Rabbi Auerbach also is chairman of the Boro Park Coordinating Council, which was organized a month ago by a group of “concerned citizens” of the section with the goal of maintaining the Jewish identity of the neighborhood and of coping with street crime from which, the rabbi said, Boro Park is not immune. He said several projects were being developed by the Council, in addition to the auxiliary patrol.
Organization of the new council developed from an effort by the Jewish Defense League, a militant right-wing group, to create a Boro Park chapter. Rabbi Meir Kahane, JDL organizer, attended a chapter organizational meeting in May at a Boro Park branch of the Agudas Israel. At a second chapter organizational meeting, a dispute developed when Boro Park leaders of the proposed JDL chapter insisted on the right to consult local rabbinical leaders before taking action in the event of disturbances. That condition was rejected by the visiting JDL leaders, who walked out of the meeting, an action which ended the chapter organizing effort.
Participants in the two meetings then set up the coordinating council which began action on several projects, including the auxiliary police unit. Members of the unit will begin training in the 66th New York City police precinct headquarters this month and the initial deployment is scheduled to begin in September. The auxiliary unit members will have identity cards, armbands and badges. They will carry billy clubs and will be taught use of the clubs, as well as judo, karate and first aid, in the 10-week training program. They will be equipped with walkie-talkies, to be financed partly by a grant from the local Chamber of Commerce.
The auxiliary police will be posted in pairs at subway entrances, bus stops, synagogues and similar public places and will be on duty from around 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Membership in the city’s auxiliary force requires a commitment to serve a minimum of 20 hours for every three-month period. Precinct officials have promised to assign non-Jewish auxiliary police to serve during the Sabbath and Holy days. Recruiting will continue indefinitely to provide maximum coverage of the area on a year-round basis.
Rabbi Auerbach said three other projects are being developed. One is an escort service for which about a dozen Jews with cars has been recruited. He said about 100 posters had been placed in store windows, synagogues, schools and other places in Boro Park advising residents how to obtain such escort service when they need it–for example, late in the evening when taxicabs may not be available. Starting in September, the Council will provide men who will post themselves at bus stops to assure that school children arriving from school at the end of the day will not be molested. A third project is synagogue checkouts. Older Jews who cannot participate in the auxiliary patrols are being enrolled to act as monitors who will examine synagogues in their neighborhoods to make sure that doors are locked and to check any suspicious activities.