BY SAM RAPPAPORT
Northeast Queens’ 111th Precinct officially kicked off its new neighborhood model of policing on April 11 at a Queensborough Community College open-mic forum that was attended by more than 400 community members.
At the event, officers from the precinct explained to residents how the new system of policing would help to address community concerns and improve communication between the department and neighborhood residents and business owners.
The new model divides the precinct into four sectors and assigns two neighborhood coordination officers (NCO) to each of those areas. The NCOs act as liaisons between the police and the community, attending town-hall style meetings with locals and fielding emails.
NCO supervisor Sergeant Joseph Saviano described the precinct’s new community model as a new philosophy of policing.
“It’s about getting back to the community and working hand in hand with people who work and live in this community,” Saviano said. “It’s about meeting people who own the pizzeria in the neighborhood. It’s about getting information off of people we haven’t been able to in the past.”
In July, the precinct will start holding regular “Build a Block” meetings, during which NCOs will meet with residents to hear comments, concerns and suggestions, Saviano said. The meetings will be sector specific. The hyperlocal aspect of the program, Saviano explained, will allow NCOs to get acquainted with the areas they cover and, ideally, encourage a greater exchange of information between community stakeholders and the police.
“If [residents] just want to come have a cup of coffee, we’ve done that,” Saviano said. “If someone has double parking on their street or someone’s speeding on their street, or they suspect someone’s sending narcotics, we’ll handle that too.”
Queens residents can find the contact information for the NCOs assigned to their neighborhood by visiting nyc.gov/nypd and searching by address.
Saviano said that the 111th Precinct is the fourth precinct in Queens North to roll out the community policing model and by the end of this year, every precinct in the city will have done so.
At this point, a week after the rollout of the program, NCOs are making every effort to canvass across the community and build connections.
“It’s not a desk job,” Saviano said of the NCOs’ role. “Everybody’s just getting comfortable with each other at the moment. I think it’s going to be a great success here in Bayside.”
The 111th Precinct covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows.