BY JOE MARVILLI
The Flushing Business Improvement District held an event to welcome the 109th Precinct’s new Commanding Officer, while also saying goodbye to a couple of the precinct’s familiar faces.
On July 18, the BID, elected officials and community leaders headed up to the seventh floor of the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel for a Welcome and Farewell Luncheon. The welcoming was for Captain Thomas Conforti, the new Commanding Officer of the 109th, and the farewell was for Inspector Brian Maguire and Captain Tommy Ng, who are moving on to new positions.
Conforti took over the 109th earlier this month, having previously served as the CO of the 112th Precinct. During his time in charge, the area, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park, had some of the lowest robbery statistics in its recent history. Conforti also presided over a two-year period free of murders or shootings.
“I’ve known the captain for quite a number of years. He has a terrific reputation. He’s accessible, he understands, he cares about the community,” State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said. “He is dedicated to the folks who live in the precinct and I know he’s going to do a great job.”
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) was also on hand to praise Conforti and his dedication to the community.
“He’s very devoted to people. He’s a people’s captain. We look forward to working with him,” Koo said.
Former Comptroller and State Senator candidate John Liu challenged Conforti to succeed as much as his predecessors have during their time at the 109th Precinct.
“Every captain that has come to the 109th Precinct, within a couple of years, becomes an inspector,” he said. “No pressure captain, but we’re looking for bigger and better things from you.”
Conforti thanked everyone for the warm welcome, speaking a little as well on his history in Flushing. Besides going back to the precinct where he led the detective squad for four years, he said that he worked as a security officer at a Stern’s Department Store in Flushing 22 years ago. His wife also grew up in the 109th Precinct.
The Captain added that he looks forward to interacting with the community and meeting people face-to-face. He also said he plans to use social media to spread information.
“I’m pretty outgoing in terms of communicating with the community. My excitement and enjoyment is interacting with people at meetings and at functions,” he said. “Anyone can do police work from behind the desk, but everyday banter, praise and complaints are what I look forward to.”
Although Maguire was unable to attend the event, Ng was there to accept citations and compliments for his service. He is taking charge of the 72nd Precinct in Brooklyn.
“There’s a saying in Chinese: ‘Every feast has an ending.’ But it’s a happy ending for Captain Ng. He’s going to take command of a new police station,” Koo said. “They have a new commander who understands their needs, their culture and their customs.”
Ng said he would miss the friends he made during his time at the 109th Precinct, as well as the work he did to help make Flushing a better place.
“For the last two years, I’ve had a good relationship with pretty much everyone I’ve met. I think that’s very important, building the basic relationships in this type of job,” Ng said. “We absolutely did an excellent job improving the quality of life overall in our community.”
Community Board 7’s first vice chairperson, Chuck Apelian, said the board looks forward to Flushing being served well by its precinct in the future, just as it has been in the past.
“We’re very excited. We’ve had a great CO for four years with Inspector Maguire,” he said. “We’re going to have great CO for hopefully another four or more years with the new captain.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.