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McCarren Pool Incidents Raise Question Of Pool Security

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TWC News: McCarren Pool Incidents Raise Question Of Pool Security
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It's been reopened less than a week, but the long-awaited City Parks pool at McCarren Park in Brooklyn has already had its share of trouble. How are residents reacting to the recent police activity, and will they think twice about using the new facility? NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.

Despite several violent incidents since its reopening, people lined up early at McCarren Pool Tuesday. By midday, it seemed to be close to its capacity of 1,500 people.

McCarren Pool re-opened last Thursday after nearly three decades and a massive renovation. The next day, a group attacked several lifeguards, prompting the pool to close early.

Then, on Monday, three young men were arrested after police say they ignored lifeguards' orders to stop running and diving in shallow water. One of the men was charged with assault after allegedly punching an officer in the face.

Geoffrey Croft, the president of NYC Park Advocates, said he witnessed the whole thing.

"Yesterday was a madhouse, people running around," he said. "I saw police escort a number of people out. They arrested three. I saw parents coming out in tears bringing their kids out. This is a $50 million investment but yet they did not plan to have adequate security? That makes no sense."

A parks department spokesperson responded angrily to Croft.

"We always have a few incidents and we always handle them," the spokesperson said.

The parks department also said that every large and medium-sized city pool has at least two NYPD and two Park Enforcement Patrol officers.

Some NY1 spoke with were apprehensive about what might happen after two rounds of arrests since the pool re-opened last week.

"I'm concerned for my son," said Williamsburg resident Patty Ionnuzzo. "He's 17. I don't want him here by himself. There've been a lot of fights. This neighborhood doesn't really have anything. We just got the pool back. This nonsense shouldn't be going on."

Others said that despite the recent incidents, they still feel safe coming here.

"I feel like the police are here so it might deter anything from happening," said Ridgewood resident Elizabeth Arroyo. "You can't let any incidents that have occurred stop you from coming to your local pool."

Late in the day, the NYPD added five more patrol officers from the Brooklyn North Task Force. NYC parks advocates said the steps were better but still not enough.

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