105th civic leaders question lack of new police recruits

By Howard Koplowitz

“That's not good. That's horrible,” she told area residents gathered in the 105th Precinct station in Queens Village.Rose Funderburke, the president of the council, said the 105th deserved more officers because it is burdened with having the largest territory to cover of any precinct in the city Ð virtually the entire eastern portion of the borough along the border with Nassau County, stretching from Glen Oaks to Rosedale. She also noted that the 103rd Precinct, which covers Jamaica, received about 25 times more officers than the 105th.Of the Police Academy's 1,735 December graduates, the precinct will get only five. Bruno DeFrancheschi, president of the North Bellerose Civic Association, said facetiously at the meeting that he assumed that the 105th was receiving only a handful of new officers because the precinct is doing so well in combatting crime.”The fact is that the 105 makes it sound like we don't have problems,” DeFrancheschi later said in a phone interview, but he cited burglaries, graffiti and the harassment of store owners. “I don't see anything getting better.””That we would only get five is really insulting. It's a great concern,” said Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of Community Board 13.He said the five new officers would not substantially help the 105th because they would not be enough to replace officers who may retire or leave the precinct. “This is going to leave us really short.”Although the community board has been requesting additional officers for the past 25 years, Hellenbrecht said the department says that they “allocate manpower on what they say the need” based on statistics.Also of concern to Hellenbrecht was the fact that the Police Department appears to have drifted away from community policing because of less manpower.”In the '70s we used to throw a party when a cop came down the block,” he said. “It's getting to that point again.”Hellenbrecht said creating another precinct in southeast Queens has been one of CB 13's top three budget priorities of the past 25 years. He said the hoped for precinct was even given a number – the 116th – but it was never created.”We think the right answer is to have another precinct in the south,” he said, because it can be “at least 10 minutes” for police to respond to a call in Springfield Gardens.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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