Brooklyn’s McCarren Park pool gets safety makeover after violent summer

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) – This summer is much different than the summer of 2012 at the McCarren Park Pool in Greenpoint.

“I think all of last year really was a learning curve,” said Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner for New York City Parks and Recreation in an interview with PIX11 News on Friday.

Jeffrey admits that the 2012 revival of the 77-year-old pool had a rough start.  The first month included assaults on lifeguards as well as an NYPD cop, disorderly conduct cases and a melee broken up by pepper spray.

As for 2013?  Thus far there have been no issues, “Just tremendous response from the 94th precinct and police department as a whole and also see we have a terrific cadre of lifeguards.”

The pool is stacked with 12 chairs on the deck, 24 lifeguards a day. Those numbers translate to 18 lifeguards at any moment looking out for the public’s safety in the water. There is also another presence that parents are seeing much more of around the pool, police.

Several cops from the aforementioned 94th Precinct are keeping a close eye, including one in each changing room. Additionally, outside officers from the 77th were stationed by the entrance line that must be managed since the pool’s capacity is only 1500 people.

“I’m happy there are a lot of officers but also it’s concerning because I don’t know what kind of business goes on here,” said Tarren Austad as she was visiting McCarren for the first time with her family. She admits she wasn’t 100% comfortable after what she saw and read from last season, “I am a little anxious to be honest with you.”

However, less than an hour later once she got her toes wet, “Now it’s not so bad.  My kids are having a blast. You know there is a lot of lifeguards and fun stuff for the kids.”

However, others like Vera Kauste have a different take.  Kauste, who has been coming nearly everyday this season with her son Milan, doesn’t let her guard down because of what she has seen, “One thing that makes me uncomfortable is that I see some older men without kids around the kid pool.”

One NYPD officer told PIX11 News that is a concern at all city pools and they are on patrol for everything, adding that if there is any kind of complaint they investigate it right away.