Det. Tanya Duhaney, of Patrol Borough Queens South, celebrated her 20th anniversary in the New York Police Department this year and doesn’t regret a single day since she joined her fellow men and women in blue.
“I feel great,” said Duhaney, a patrol officer. “I’m glad that I made it. I love the fact that I am able to help those in need. I love to connect with the community that I grew up in, which is Southeast Queens.”
Duhaney spent 19 years at the 113th Precinct, with 14 years as a community affairs officer and five as a patrol officer. This year she has completed her first year at the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows as a patrol officer.
“I’m happy to spread my love throughout Queens South,” said Duhaney.
Duhaney knew that she wanted to become a police officer since she was a child.
“When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I got lost at 5 years old,” said Duhaney. “It was two police officers that found me. I just remember them putting a police hat on my head and bringing me home to my parents. From that moment on I knew I wanted to help people and be a police officer.”
Like many NYPD members who started their tenure 20 years ago, Duhaney belongs to what is called the “Class of 9/11,” according to the detective.
“We were three months in at the Police Academy,” said Duhaney. “We started July 1 and then on September 11th the towers went down.”
Duhaney recalled calling her mother from Ground Zero to say “that she loves her.”
“They told us buildings may still fall,” said Duhaney. “I’m just glad to still be alive.”
Duhaney was a mentee of Gold Shield Det. Lawrence Cecil Smith of the 113th Precinct in Rochdale. As a youth in the 1980s, she attended his summer camp and in May spearheaded a street co-naming of the retired officer who died in 2019 after a heart attack.
“He taught me about being connected to the community and being there for people,” said Duhaney.
One way Duhaney connects with the community is through her Camping in the Park program, which will be held at Baisley Pond Park on Aug. 12.
“We train our children on the outdoor life, we pitch tents and we teach them CPR,” said Duhaney. “We also bring the smokehouse out to them. It teaches them what to do if they are out in a fire.”
The rest of the night is storytelling, tug-of-war and Conversation Corner, according to the detective.
“The Conversation Corner is where the kids have an open dialogue with the officer,” said Duhaney.
Duhaney on July 13 hosted the “Love All, Hate No One” ceremony, which repainted the Baisley Houses basketball court in honor of Aamir Griffin, a young man who was shot two years ago while playing the sport, which was his passion.
This year was also the eighth anniversary of Duhaney’s Prom Impact event, which gives away free prom dresses to women who can’t afford them.
“I realized that a couple of teens in Southeast Queens weren’t going to prom because they couldn’t afford them,” said Duhaney. “Now I’m up to giving away 1,000 dresses each year. There was no prom this year, so we donated graduation dresses to those who wanted them.”
Nicole Dorsey, a community leader at Baisley Park Houses in South Jamaica, has known Duhaney for a decade.
“We met during one of my community events,” said Dorsey, who does a Miracle on Baisley Christmas giveaway and Back to School giveaway. “Tanya has been supporting with those events ever since.”
Dorsey, a parent coordinator at the city’s Department of Education, was one of the community leaders who came out to the “Love All, Hate No One” event to support Duhaney.
“She is not about the title,” said Dorsey. “You never hear her say I’m a detective. You don’t hear any of that. You just hear community. She has a warm, welcoming spirit. She came into the community not as an officer, not as a detective, but as someone who wants to know what can I do. How can I help you?... She has a heart of servitude ... and she is due for another promotion.”