Three weeks into his new post as commanding officer of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South, Assistant Chief David Barrere dropped into the regular monthly meeting of Community Board 12.
It was probably the smallest surprise the chief delivered all night.
Following his brief talk at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center in St. Albans, Barrere, pen and notebook in hand, met quietly and at length with the family of a man who claimed to have been the victim of harassment and false arrest in the 103rd Precinct on a night that he initially intended to be an opportunity to introduce himself to the board and members of the community.
Kevin Livingston, a member of the 103rd Precinct Community Council, witnessed the incident and said the officers were less aggressive toward the man after he introduced himself at the scene.
“This city has the greatest people and the greatest police officers in the world,” Barrere said. “You have police officers who willingly put themselves in harm’s way for you; officers who would place themselves between you and a bullet ... We don’t want a few bad apples or a few rogue cops damaging that.”
But he also said that the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau exist for a reason, and speaking to the young man involved and the rest of the room, said he has no problem with accountability.
“There is no time limit on filing a complaint, but faster is better,” he said. “And the process has been made easier. You can do it on line at nypd.org. You can do it by email, by regular mail. I’ll take you in my car tonight and you can file at the precinct.
Appointed by Commissioner William Bratton on Jan. 24, Barrere has spent 19 of his 24 years with the NYPD in the patrol sector. He said he enjoyed the last five years with the Queens detective bureau.
“But I missed the interaction with the public,” he said. “I missed wearing the uniform that I’m proud of.” He said both feelings were fostered over nearly nine years as a precinct commander at the 75th and 76th precincts in Brooklyn and the 114th in Astoria.
Taking questions from the floor, Barrere was asked how his commitment to the public will manifest itself.
“Meetings like this one tonight,” he said. “Of the eight (precinct) community councils in my district, I’ve already visited five, as well as two community boards.” Two of those visits have been to the 105th Precinct on Jan. 29 and the 103rd on Feb. 11; the latter visit was unannounced beforehand.
“You’ll discover I practice what I preach,” he said.