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In Effort To Combat Rash Of Gun Violence, NYPD To Change Officers' Schedules, Require Many To Work Weekend Day

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD's top cop is now putting more officers on the streets during the weekends.

That appears to be when we see the biggest increase in shootings. There were 16 shooting incidents on Saturday. Eighteen people were injured and three were killed, police said.

During the same time last year, there were only three shooting incidents, with three injured and one fatality, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Sunday.

MORE: Tracking Shootings In New York City

The troubling trend of gun violence made its mark in East Harlem at Thomas Jefferson Park on Saturday night. Yellow tape was left stuck to a fence where neighbors say a woman was shot near the basketball courts.

Police said at least one bullet went through the 18-year-old victim's torso. While she is expected to survive, Shehav Jobah, who plays ball close to where the attack happened, is concerned.

"It was a lot of kids in the park, too, at the same time, so that's the bad part about it. It's scary," Jobah told CBS2's Cory James.


That concern is echoing across New York City, especially in Queens Village. That is where two deadly shootings happened within 12 hours of each other.

"To see this happen, especially in your neighborhood, in your backyard, it's senseless. It makes absolutely no sense," a man named Drew said.

One of the victims was 34-year-old Mike Harris, who went by the name "Lip." Police said he was shot in the shoulder and died at the hospital.

"He was a good guy. It's just a shame. I don't even know what to say. It's a shame. I saw him two weeks ago," friend Eric Campbell said.

The schedule switches are an NYPD mandate, and they appear to be unpopular with some veteran officers.

All officers know a lot is asked of them, as they pull crime scene tape around more and more bullet casings and bodies.

Now, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea is changing the schedules of many officers who currently have both days of the weekend off. Two-thirds of those under the rank of sergeant get shifted Sunday through Thursday or Tuesday through Saturday.

Some city residents say this beefing up makes sense for weekends full of violent crimes and tense demonstrations.

"This is a job that they signed up for, to protect and serve, and I think if they have to pick the day of the weekend where they have to work that's just the job," said Ryan Creese of East New York.

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"There should people ... more cops moving around, checking the area," one 17-year-old told James.

One man who lives near an East Harlem park said he believes the schedule changes could save lives, specifically in places where there are innocent people.

"There's kids. They might be elderly. There's people here with their families," Marc Rozier said.

Retired NYPD officer Ron Colter said he recognizes why the Police Department is adjusting its manpower.

"We understand the job we took. The job we took says we are going to work various tours, various hours and for various different amount of times. I get it," retired NYPD officer Ron Colter said.

Colter was an officer for 16 years until he suffered a stroke. He's now a community activist and says many things are unclear, including the exact assignments for the officers on the new schedules.

"The directive never said that they are going to take those people and assign them to patrol. That's not what it says and if that is what they're going to do then you have a disgruntled unhappy cop on patrol who probably fought his way and paid his dues to have off Saturday and Sunday," Colter said.

The Police Benevolent Association released a statement that reads, "We are at the breaking point. Our elected leaders are busy stripping resources from the NYPD in the middle of a crime wave, and yet they're asking cops to sacrifice more to help right the ship."

Community advocate Tony Herbert is demanding the city be more transparent with police and criminal justice spending.

"Maybe where they're putting the monies may not be working," Herbert said.

He spoke outside a salon in East New York, where a woman was grazed by a stray bullet Friday while getting her nails done.

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He said city money directed away from cops and to groups designed to help stop the violence must be monitored closely.

"I understand they just started hiring these community ambassadors. Well, maybe that might be the answer to go out with this unit, but at the end of the day the guns are still going off so where is the problem at?" Herbert said.

Colter predicts the new schedules will make many more veteran officers unhappy enough to retire earlier than they had planned.

"And it's not because they're running because they no longer want to do their job. They're leaving because they can't do their job," Colter said.

An internal memo says the officer schedule changes must be hammered down by the end of this month.

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