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Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Len Santoro presents Detective Charlie Sadler with the Cop of the Year award at the Knockdown Center on Jan. 25.

For decades, a pair of local heroes have sacrificed their time to help their neighbors in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, and their impact was on full display when hundreds of people showed up to celebrate their commitment.

At a dinner party thrown by the 104th Precinct Community Council at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth on Thursday, Jan. 25, Detective Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct’s Community Affairs Unit was honored as the precinct’s Cop of the Year, and the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council (GRYC) was recognized as Community Partner of the Year.

The renovated manufacturing building was filled with nearly 300 people, including local elected officials, police officers, business owners, friends and family members of the honorees. Len Santoro, president of the 104th Precinct Community Council, presented the awards and expressed his appreciation for the selfless work that Sadler and the GRYC do every day.

Sadler is in his 13th year with the 104th Precinct and has gone above and beyond to connect with the community. As coordinator of the precinct’s Auxiliary Unit, Sadler has tripled the unit’s size and been responsible for overseeing thousands of hours of volunteer police work. He once led the precinct’s Relay for Life team and completed an entire marathon.

When he was presented with the award, Sadler showed the humility that the community has grown to love him for.

“We don’t just work together, we’ve become family and I’ve watched you have children and watched some of your kids grow,” Sadler said to the audience. “It’s an honor, and it’s a humbling experience to be standing here in front of you.”

Bob Monahan, president of the GRYC, has been giving back to the community for almost 40 years, and has seen the nonprofit grow immensely since he started in 1981. There were just three total employees then, he said, and today there are 503. They serve more than 3,000 kids every day by offering pre-K and after-school programs, internships, job readiness programs and more.

His primary reason for what he has done with the GRYC, Monahan said, is that by helping more kids, fewer will end up in the hands of the police department.

“I surround myself with good people, and great things happen,” Monahan said to the crowd. “I look at myself as a person who is in the business to put the New York City Police Department out of the kid business.”

During the ceremony, Sadler and Monahan were also presented Proclamations by Public Advocate Letitia James, state Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, Assemblyman Mike Miller and Councilman Robert Holden.

Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes, commander of Patrol Borough Queens North, also spoke on behalf of the police department to thank Sadler and Monahan, and former commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Mark Wachter, offered some more personal remarks about the two.

“Without you, Bob, this community wouldn’t be what it is,” Wachter said. “Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, that’s when there was a lot of problems in the city, and you actually took these kids in.”

With the Cop of the Year award, Sadler joins his partner, Detective Thomas Bell, who won the award last year. Bell expressed his admiration for Sadler and his family, briefly faked his retirement and fooled everyone in the audience, then ended by describing his partner’s most lasting trait.

“Charlie tries to go above and beyond each and every time, without question. He just says, ‘I got it’ even if he doesn’t have it,” Bell said.

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