The Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol (G-COP) has served as the “extended eyes and ears” of the NYPD for over 30 years — and they want you to help keep their mission alive.
“We don’t complain about crime, we do something about it,” said Frank Kotnik, G-COP president.
In the late 1990s, the volunteer group was asked to expand and help patrol within the confines of the 104th Precinct, and have since performed regular checks throughout Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Glendale. They use their own vehicles, and two to three times a week send out three to four cars, with two people in each car.
“[G-COP is] essential to us,” said Officer Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct. “They deeply care about the community that they serve.”
Currently, the group has 50 active members, but Kotnik has dreams of growing to 150 reliable, dedicated patrollers.
“People want to join something that is proactive, not stagnant,” said the longtime president. “That’s what we are — we’re leading with example, we’re getting out there.”
Founded in 1976, G-COP’s structure and loyal members have made the group strong enough to withstand the test of time.
“You get out of something what you put into it,” said Kotnik. “And I think there are a lot more able-bodied men and women that could step up to the plate.”
Mainly, G-COP takes direction from the 104th Precinct and does everything from checking out suspicious scenes to directing traffic during a parade. Kotnik recalled various incidents in which they helped aid lost children and women in distress, and locked up graffiti vandals.
Although patrols are typically only a few times a week, if “necessary, they’ll be out every day,” according to Kotnik. Most recently, during Sandy, members of G-COP had a constant presence both within the community and in the disaster-stricken areas of south Queens. They worked around the clock, cleaning up their local area, and busing truckloads of essential items down to the storm victims.
Since the storm has passed, Kotnik and his group have returned to regular patrols, and creating a sense of safety within the community.
“The more volunteers, the merrier,” said Bell. “They’re definitely eyes out there. They’re always quick to respond, to lend a hand.”
The NYPD is waiting for end-of-year reports to come out that will detail crime statistics within each precinct, but Bell said that G-COP is an important addition in controlling various situations.
Ideally, Kotnik hopes to grow to more frequent patrols and expand their presence even further. To join, applicants must live within the 104th Precinct and be at least 18 years of age. Applications can be obtained on the group’s website, g-cop.org, or by going to the monthly meeting, held the second Thursday of each month at the St. Pancras School in Glendale at 8 p.m. G-COP hopefuls will then be subjected to background checks.
“These people come from all walks of life, we welcome everybody,” said Kotnik.