After repeated requests by elected officials for more police officers for the 106th Precinct, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly finally listened and assigned 15 new ones.
“We got more cops,” said the elated commanding officer, Capt. Thomas Pascale, at the community council meeting last week in Ozone Park, as the audience cheered and applauded.
“Through the hard work of the community and help from the elected officials, these are our new officers,” Pascale continued as he introduced them to the audience.
The officers were previously assigned to NYPD impact units and have been with the department an average of three to four years.
Impact units are comprised of new officers who are assigned to precincts in high crime neighborhoods in the city upon their graduation from the academy.
Pascale said that four of the officers will be assigned to the Resorts World racino area on the weekends.
The captain said the additional officers will bolster the precinct’s strength and lower the precinct’s response time to 911 calls and quality of life complaints.
The new officers will also ease the burden when the precinct loses officers to the Rockaway precincts for the summer months.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who has been fighting for more police officers for the 106th Precinct for years, said he was pleased with the increase, but still believes Kelly needs to allocate additional cops to South Queens.
“While I am grateful for the additional officers that have finally been assigned to the 106th Precinct, I will continue to advocate for more officers due to the increase in business at Resorts World at Aqueduct,” Addabbo said in a prepared statement. “I also appreciate the four additional officers said to have been assigned by the police commissioner to the racino on weekends, which will be helpful in assuring the safety and quality of life for my constituents.”
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) also thanked the commissioner for assigning more officers to the 106th.
In other meeting news, Community Affairs Officer Ken Zorn discussed the precinct’s response to last month’s complaints.
Ozone Park resident Joseph Wolt had complained about an ongoing dangerous condition at the Rite Aid drug store parking lot at 96th Street and Rockaway Boulevard.
He said that motorists not wanting to wait for the long red light at that intersection were taking a short cut through the Rite Aid lot.
Zorn said the precinct’s traffic officers went to the location and issued a total of eight summonses for the violations that they observed.
William Ruiz, of Ozone Park, previously said he was concerned about cars being broken into on 78th Street between Liberty Avenue and Glenmore Avenue.
He said that two or three cars had been broken into about every other week.
Zorn said the precinct has increased patrols in the area, which he said will also slow down the speeders on 78th Street — something Ruiz was also concerned about.
“Hopefully things have improved over there,” Zorn said.
South Ozone Park resident Carmen Miranda had complained that her next door neighbor had rented her driveway, which is located in the vicinity of 122nd Street and 111th Avenue, to another neighbor who parks his racing car in the driveway.
Miranda previously said the car had been giving off fumes that wafted into her home.
“Those fumes are coming into my house and making me sick,” she said at the last meeting.
Zorn said that Miranda did not call police during the past month about the problem.
He also said he personally went to the location six times and did not see the car that she complained about spewing fumes.
In response to complaints made by residents about unleashed pit bulls being walked by their owner on Rockaway Boulevard between 106th and 107th streets, Zorn said the matter was referred to the city Animal Care and Control.
Before addressing the complaints, Pascale noted that robberies of Apple products citywide represented 12 percent of all major crime.
Once again, the captain reminded the audience members to be aware of their surroundings when walking with such items as smart phones.
“Please be discreet when you use these devices,” Pascale said.
The captain urged smart phone owners to download the “Find My Phone” tracking software and to never turn off their devices, in case of theft. With the GPS tracking, he noted, police can locate the stolen equipment and arrest the perpetrator.
Pascale alerted the audience to the rash of manhole cover thefts in Brooklyn and Queens in the past couple of weeks.
Thieves dressed as utility workers lift the 320-pound, 32-inch diameter cast-iron lids with car jacks and reportedly sell them to scrap iron dealers for $75.
Council President Frank Dardani suggested that residents put their address on the back of their house so that if their neighbor sees a perpetrator breaking into the rear of the house, they would know the exact address when they call the police.
This would also be helpful to the FDNY should their backyard neighbor spot flames in the home.
Several residents at the council meeting expressed their own concerns to Pascale.
Lindenwood resident Jose Zambrana said he was concerned about Verizon employees going door-to-door in the co-ops, seeking to get residents to sign up for FiOs, without advising management of their presence.
Angel Vazquez, of Ozone Park, thanked Pascale and his officers for quieting the noisemakers at Gemini Field at South Conduit and Linden boulevards.
In an effort to stop trouble at large parties or happenings before they start, Pascale urged residents to contact the precinct when they see the obvious signs — the people being frisked and paying to come in and the organizers selling drinks.
“If you see that, you have to let us know immediately,” Pascale said.