It was 1914.
The officers were beginning their first tour of duty at a time when in Europe, war was raging between monarchial powers. China was adapting to life for the first time without an emperor and Russia still had a tsar. Around the country, for the first time ever, candidates were vying for voters’ support in U.S. Senate elections — though not yet from women.
And in Richmond Hill, the first of New York’s Finest to set foot inside the 102nd Precinct were hitting the streets.
At that time, the communities it served were still suburban in nature. Rolling lawns still dotted the landscape and it was still possible to stand on 102nd Street near Forest Park and see Jamaica Bay.
Now it’s 2014. Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park are dense urban communities with diverse populations, and the cops at the 102nd Precinct are celebrating a century of duty to those neighborhoods.
Last Thursday, outside the station house at 87-34 118 St., members of the NYPD brass, community leaders and officials gathered to honor the precinct’s centennial in a celebration that included classic police cars and members of the mounted unit that used to have a stable next door to the precinct, which includes Forest Park as part of its command.
The station house itself is quite historic. It was built at the site of an earlier town hall that housed a courthouse, a jail and an earlier police headquarters dating back before Queens became part of the city in 1898. The building was completely renovated in the early 1990s.
Borough President Melinda Katz was on hand with a proclamation for Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner, honoring the precinct’s century of service to the communities.