Residents had a chance to meet the new NCOs during an event at Queens Metropolitan High School last Thursday.
Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Cermeli wanted the program in the 112th Precinct to give residents a specific person to communicate their issues to, whether they be big or small.
“The little things are the big things,” Cermeli said. “I’ve seen the success stories. Now your specific area has officers that are dedicated just to taking care of your complaints and concerns.”
The precinct will be split into four sectors: A, B, C and D. Each sector will have two NCOs that residents can reach out to. Residents can call, text or email the officers, whose contact information can be found on the NYPD website.
Sector A, which is located between Queens Boulevard, Yellowstone Boulevard, Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard, will be covered by officers Nicole Atkinson and Daniel Rivas.
Rivas said the new group of NCOs are a close unit who have already worked together for a while so even if there are problems in Sector D, he and other officers will be able to assist or see if there are any connections to their own sector.
Sector B, which covers southern Rego Park from Woodhaven Boulevard to Queens Boulevard, as well as along 67th Avenue and the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, will be manned by officers Sean Barnwell and Issac Zamor.
Northern Rego Park and Forest Hills, from Queens Boulevard to Grand Central Parkway between 65th Avenue and the Long Island Expressway, is Sector C, with officers David Bleck and Robert Faulkner on the beat.
Bleck, who once worked in the NYPD Harbor Unit, recalled a mission for two kids who fell into the East River. En route, his crew received word that an officer also fell into the water while trying to rescue the kids. That officer was coincidentally Cermeli, who Bleck rescued in addition to the children.
“We wanted to get back in the community and help you solve problems,” said Bleck. “We’re young and we’re ready to rock.”
Sector D, the area from 65th Avenue to Union Turnpike between Queens Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway, in addition to a section of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, will be patrolled by officers Ryan Foster and Kevin Nolan.
In the 112th Precinct, there are now 11 officers and two sergeants that have been redeployed into the community. Officers came from divisions overseeing schools, housing, and traffic, to name a few. There hasn’t been any changes to the Community Affairs officers.
The 112th Precinct will also receive 12 new police officers in December, and another six in March from the Police Academy.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said one of the key responsibilities of an NCO is to take time out to interact with the community. To engage, officers will visit nursing homes, schools, local businesses and patrol the streets.
“There will be 29 more cops out here in the one-twelve, protecting and serving,” Harrison said. “People from Staten Island all the way to southeast Queens love having a New York City police officer assigned to them, having access to them, and being able to call them and tell them to come over.”
In the past, Harrison said, the NYPD had several practices that prevented a trusting relationship between officers and the community, such as a system that only connected cops and the community in stressful situations, like a 911 call.
With the new neighborhood policing, the officers will be members of the community.
“We have to work together,” urged Harrison. “There has to be a trust, a relationship. We have to make sure there’s community engagement.”
Furthermore, the NCOs of each sector will hold their own “Build the Block” meetings, where officers will work with the community to identify problems and develop strategies to address crime and quality-of-life issues.
The new sectors will have additional resources, such as officers conducting several midnight platoons and day tours. Officers will also work with other city agencies like the Department of Sanitation or the Department of Transportation to clear up any problems in the neighborhood.
“If the NCOs can’t get the job fixed on their own, they will do whatever they can to get the job done,” Harrison said.