BY JOE MARVILLI
While the patient who bolted from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center last week was recaptured, his initial escape has left community leaders concerned about the site’s security.
A statement from 14 civic groups was sent out on Feb. 2 to state their alarm and distress over the escape of Raymond Morillo, who was serving 15 years in prison for manslaughter and assault. While he was ultimately caught again in Memphis, Tenn., the civics are upset about the fact that he was able to escape.
The Bellerose Hillside Civic Association, the Creedmoor Civic Association, the Glen Oaks Village Co-op, the Queens Civic Congress and the Bay Terrace Community Alliance were among the groups that sent out the joint-letter to show their concern.
“It’s a fiasco. Their security is very lax,” Glen Oaks Village Co-op president Bob Friedrich said. “As a result of that, the 105th precinct responds every time there’s an incident there. They’re just as outraged as we are. It really creates a problem for the communities served by it.”
Besides expressing the civics’ frustration over the escape, the letter contained a plan to ensure the safety of the communities surrounding Creedmoor. In addition to demanding a full investigation into the incident, it also called for the adoption of a comprehensive security plan for the entire Creedmoor campus, the transfer for resources from the Office of Mental Health to fund a proper level of security, disclosure and transparency to the type of people being housed at Creedmoor and a Community Notification Protocol to provide alerts to dangerous situations.
“We want to be part of the solution. We want to know what the protocols are going to be, what the resources are and what type of patients are being held in this facility,” Friedrich added.
The letter also asked for similar review of security at Zucker-Hillside Hospital, as there have been a few problems at that site as well.
“It’s located in the middle of a huge residential area. We’ve had situations in the past. They’ve been few and far between. But we want to make sure the security apparatus there is sufficient,” Friedrich said.
The community leaders were shocked about the escape when it happened; particularly that Creedmoor housed such dangerous individuals and did not appear to have adequate security to keep them there.
“I was surprised it was housing offenders that were so dangerous. There wasn’t some mechanism put in place to notify the community,” Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.