Brooklyn parole officers confiscate guns, make the streets safer
By DEBORAH A. MILES
At the end of December, Senior Parole Officer Denise Granum and eight parole officers entered the residence of a parolee under the guise of a routine, unannounced home visit. As soon as he opened the door, Parole Officer Latoya Ferguson handcuffed him and announced that she was there to perform a safety search.
What they found was a loaded 22 revolver in the pocket of the parolee’s coat, which was hanging on the door. It was the 13th firearm Granum and her team confiscated during 2017, breaking their record of 12 for the previous year.
“We’ve found shotguns, several 357 Magnums and small revolvers,” said Granum, who works out of the Brooklyn V Bureau. “Usually the parolees are cooperative because they know safety searches are something we can do. The searches that pose a threat to our safety are those with a lot of people in the house.”
Prior to a safety search, these Brooklyn-based parole officers review their caseloads and determine which parolees would be most likely to possess a weapon, drugs or any contraband. They typically perform searches once a month and coordinate with the 75th precinct, so police officers are outside of the residences being searched.
“When we find any contraband, the police officers enter and make the arrests. On searches, there are a team of at least eight people. We are mostly comprised of female parole officers, but have at least one male officer with us. When we do discover a firearm, we don’t shout out “gun” or “firearm.” We say “bumblebee,” so as not to alert the parolee or family members that we found a weapon.
“We also find drugs, especially large quantities of marijuana. Last year, we confiscated a lot of drugs that led to15 arrests.
“In September, we shut down a barber shop operated by a parolee who was a sex offender. I sensed something was not right, as the windows were covered with posters. Our search discovered his shop was converted into an after-hour club for gamblers and prostitutes. The barber shop chairs were gone, and there was a bar, strippers pole and a boom-boom room where illegal activity took place. When we entered, there were three women wearing very little clothing.”
Granum said the Brooklyn V is devoted to being pro-active and takes the time to fit more into their schedules.
“It is important to us, and as a result shootings and robberies have decreased. What we do also shows that parole officers are part of all law enforcement, and we should be treated with the same respect and earn the same benefits. We risk our lives, and we devote our lives to making sure people in our communities remain safe,” Granum said. “That’s why we live by our motto, ‘Seek and we shall find.’