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111th Precinct Community Council Awards Night

Three police officers, an auxiliary cop, a police administrator, and two teen volunteers were honored at the most recent meeting of the 111th Precinct Community Council in Bayside.
At a ceremony on Tuesday, June 5, Detective Reginald Griffin was picked as Detective of the Year, Police Officer Thomas Himbele was named Police Officer of the Year, and Sergeant Kevin Zweigbaum was chosen as Supervisor of the Year.
Griffin, who has been with the force for 17 years, became a detective seven years ago and now holds the highest arrest percentage per case in the 111th detective squad. “He follows up each lead relentlessly, investigating each and every case,” said 111th Precinct Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Scott Hanover. “Reggie investigates routine cases with the same zeal that he pursues major cases.”
Like Griffin, Zweigbaum’s efforts have also led to high arrest rates. His unit averages about six collars per month, which Hanover said keeps the Precinct’s crime rate low and local residents safe.
A 10-year veteran, Zweigbaum was assigned to the anti-crime unit two years ago.
“Being the anti-crime supervisor in a low crime precinct is not always an easy task,” Hanover said. “Sergeant Zweigbaum leaves no stone unturned when investigating street crimes in the 111th Precinct.”
Hanover pointed to Zweigbaum’s work to discover an illegal gambling ring by using street sources. After responding to another incident - a “routine” family dispute - Zweigbaum helped to obtain a search warrant that netted 16 high-powered rifles from a home within the Precinct’s boundaries and a warehouse in Lake Success.
“Kevin does not have the officers assigned to him do anything that he would not be willing to do himself,” Hanover said.
Himbele, who has been with the NYPD for 14 years, works as the Precinct’s school officer, youth officer, club coordinator, and Police Benevolent Association (PBA) delegate. Hanover said Himbele has “numerous” arrests credited to his name in and around the three local high schools - Bayside, Cardozo, and Francis Lewis.
“Tommy’s name doesn’t always end up on the bottom of the report, however, if it is as youth crime, you can be sure he had a hand in successfully investigating and bringing the youth to justice,” Hanover said.
Also honored were 111th Auxiliary Officer of the Year James Fares, Police Administrative Aide (P.A.A.) Elaine Pecha, Explorer of the Year David Zhang, and local teen volunteer Lia Robinson.
Bayside native Fares volunteers 65 hours-per-month to the Precinct and has completed a basic management course, part of the requirements to earn the distinction of auxiliary supervisor.
“Auxiliary Police Officer Fares always goes above and beyond what is expected of him from the auxiliary program,” Hanover said.
Pecha has been with the department for 11 years, serving in the Community Affairs Unit for the past eight.
“Elaine is the first to offer her assistance in helping any officer fill out a report, contact a complainant, or to request supplies,” Hanover said, later adding, “For her dedication to duty and her hard work ethic, Elaine is well-deserving of the Civilian of the Year award.”
Bayside resident Zhang, 16, has been an Explorer at the 111th Precinct for over a year, and in that time, he has racked up more than 100 hours of community service - helping with graffiti cleanups, working at the front door as a greeter, and helping out with paperwork.
“David has a keen interest in police work, and we are sure that he will have a great career as a police officer in the near future,” Hanover said.
Lia Robinson, a Bayside High School senior, was named Youth of the Year for her work with the Beacon Program, an after-school group at M.S. 158 in Bayside.

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