BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Captain John Travaglia said he wants to open the doors of his new precinct to its residents.
Travaglia is the new commanding officer of the 108th precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside. He said that one of his priorities is fostering civilian and police interaction through open house hours at the precinct.
The open house “meet and greet” time would bring residents into the room with precinct officers as well as auxiliary officers and volunteer youth explorers, Travaglia said. He added that he envisions starting the program in January, ideally on a monthly basis.
“Putting a face with us, putting a personality to us, knowing us will build trust in us,” Travaglia said. “I’d like [residents] to fully see who we are, what we do every day.”
“Movies, sitcoms, they can’t be educating the public. We have to be educating the public, we have to tell them the truth, because it isn’t a movie,” Travaglia added.
He also noted that civilians might be more comfortable asking pointed or personal questions in the open house setting, as opposed to in public meetings.
Travaglia acknowledged that the open house program would “absolutely” have a benefit for the 108th precinct’s officers as well.
He said that he told the precinct during one of his first meetings, “I want officers out of their car, I want you talking to people, I want you explaining to people the small things.”
The Captain comes to the 108th precinct after working as executive officer in the neighboring 114th and 104th precincts. He said that these three regions are similar in regards to the prevalence of property-based crimes, but added that Long Island City’s skyrocketing development was one aspect that “jumped off the page.”
“[There is] a shift from being a commercial region to being a residential region, so new crimes would be occurring now from being in a warehouse type of community,” he explained.
He cited fire escape break-ins and a higher density of parked cars as elements he will be keeping his eye on.
“My enforcement efforts are going to try to target people who do these crimes, tracking recidivists … and also I’ll combat it by hopefully educating people to take better precautions,” Travaglia said.
“The last thing I want is somebody to be victimized,” he added.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, email@example.com or