Feb. 28, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Robert Holden is calling for an investigation into the 104th Police Precinct after officers took hours to respond to a 911 call of a suspicious man at a Glendale Catholic school earlier this week.
Faculty members at Sacred Heart Catholic Academy called 911 to report a suspicious man who knocked on the school’s door to ask for directions on Feb. 25 and police officers came about four hours later, Holden said.
Officers, according to police sources, received the call around the same time that two high priority emergencies came in. One involved a missing teen and another dealt with a car crash with injuries, both viewed as urgent.
Still Holden said an incident at a school should warrant an immediate response.
The man in question knocked on the Catholic school’s door at about 12:30 p.m. while holding a stick-like object and a bag over his shoulder, according to Holden, who spoke to faculty and reviewed surveillance footage.
A faculty member answered the door, but felt uncomfortable and shut it, while the man lingered around the school, located at 84-05 78th Ave., for several more minutes, Holden said.
Over the next two hours, faculty members called 911 twice and ultimately requested a police presence at 3 p.m. dismissal time. However, officers from the 104th Precinct didn’t arrive until after 4 p.m., the Council Member said.
“Regardless of whether or not the man knocking on the door was actually a danger to the school, the staff felt concerned enough to call 911, and that should have warranted an immediate response,” Holden said.
The police, however, said that they were told that the man didn’t pose a threat– and they responded accordingly.
According to a police spokesperson, the 911 caller told them that the man just looked suspicious. Furthermore, the caller told them that the man was walking away from the location.
Additionally, officers from the 104th Precinct had to respond to two high-priority emergencies — a missing 14-year-old and a vehicle collision with injuries — before going to the school.
Holden, however, said he was also frustrated over the local precinct’s lack of communication with his office. He said he never got a call back from the commanding officer, Captain Victoria Perry, and had to call several more times the following day to learn the details of the incident and police response.
“I am extremely frustrated with the lack of response and urgency from the 104th Precinct,” Holden said. “In this day and age with many school threats occurring, this was a test of whether or not the precinct was prepared, and it failed miserably.”
The precinct has since contacted Holden, according to police.
“The Commanding Officer of the 104 Precinct is aware of this incident and has been in contact with the Council Member,” a spokesperson for the NYPD said. “The Captain has instructed her supervisory personnel to redirect units to any jobs occurring at schools even when they are not considered a priority.”
Personnel from the 104th Precinct have visited the school several times a day since the incident, in order to reassure the safety of students and staff, the police spokesperson added.