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Queens Chronicle

Cappelmann takes over in NYPD’s 103rd

Police work, Jamaica precinct both run in new commander’s family

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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Apr 17, 2014.

The NYPD has named Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann as the new commanding officer of the 103rd Precinct. A member of the department for 18 years and a U.S. Army veteran, Cappelmann came to the 103rd on Monday from the 9th Precinct in Manhattan.

He replaces Inspector Charles McEvoy, who last month was transferred to the department’s School Safety Division, where he now serves as executive officer.

Cappelmann introduced himself Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the 103rd Precinct Community Council at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church in St. Albans.

Cappelmann has served in every borough but Staten Island. But he said he has the 103rd Precinct in his blood.

“My dad served in the 103rd from 1972 to 1991,” he said. “I grew up in the station house, one day a month from about age 4 or 5 until I turned 18. When I heard the 103rd, I was ecstatic.”

When his father, John Sr., retired after 35 years, his brother, Kevin, now also retired, served in the precinct. Another brother is an NYPD sergeant.

“I’m hoping to stay in Queens for a while,” he said.

Donna Clopton, president of the Community Council and a huge fan of McEvoy’s, was enthusiastic on Tuesday.

“I think we’re going to love him,” she said.

While conducting the monthly talk of precinct crime stats, Cappelmann said he places great importance on dealing with recidivist criminals for the benefit of the remaining “99.9-plus percent of the people.”

“You keep looking at crime reports and the same few names keep coming up,” he said. “I once had a case with a 15-year-old. From Thursday to Sunday he committed 15 robberies. Then we caught him and we probably stopped another 100.”

Cappelmann had served as CO in the 9th for two years, about the time that ranking officers begin to expect reassignment.

He was in the Lower East Side station house last week when the call came.

“There were rumors that I would be going somewhere in Manhattan,” he said. He was meeting with a small group that included a retired police officer.

“We were talking about the Foster and Laurie killings,” he said, referring to the 1972 assassination of officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie, rookie partners, one black and one white, who were ambushed and shot multiple times. A suspect from the city’s black radical movement was tried but not convicted.

The case has never been closed.

“We never forget,” Cappelmann said.

At that moment the call came, directing him to report to the Jamaica precinct on Monday.

“When I heard the 103rd, I thought of Eddie Byrne,” he said, referring to the contract killing 26 years ago in which Officer Byrne, also a rookie, was killed protecting a witness in a drug case.

Cappelmann’s father was assigned to the precinct at the time.

And his father was one of the first he called with last week’s exciting news.

“I said ‘Guess where I’m going.’ He said ‘The 103rd.’”

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