By Anna Gustafson
As NYPD Lt. David Martelli wrapped up his midnight shift and stepped out of the 111th Precinct building one last time before retiring from the police force Tuesday, he was greeted by more than 75 police officers, family and friends who saluted and cheered the man they called irreplaceable.
“I’ve really had a great career and worked with amazing people,” said Martelli, 47, a 26-year veteran of the NYPD.
The 111th Precinct Tuesday morning honored Martelli, who has worked from midnight to 8 a.m. in the 111th Precinct for a little more than a decade. Police officers greeted Martelli with a salute and applause as he left the 111th Precinct building at 45-06 215th St. in Bayside, and a police helicopter flew over the celebration in recognition of Martelli.
The lieutenant’s wife, LuAnn, and children, David, 13, and Lindsey, 11, attended the ceremony. A number of other family and friends also celebrated the retirement, including his mother, Anita Martelli, and brother, Michael Martelli, a retired policeman who was inspired to join the NYPD after his brother did.
“He did a phenomenal job,” 111th Precinct Capt. Ronald Leyson said. “He was a big contributor to crime reduction in the 111th.”
Leyson said Martelli was “by far” the best platoon commander — meaning he was in charge of the midnight shift, during which time he said he often dealt with rowdy bar patrons on Bell Boulevard and “tried to keep people safe in their beds.”
“He’s not going to be replaced,” Leyson said.
Martelli, who lives in western Queens, launched his career in Central Park and went on to be a feted member of the police force who placed first on the 1996 NYPD Sergeant’s exam — out of 12,000 applications. He was assigned to stay with NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who was left a quadriplegic after he was shot in Central Park in 1986, while the detective spent six months in Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
“He is my brother,” said McDonald, who attended Tuesday’s event. “When I was in the hospital, he feathered my nest so to say. He made it my home away from home. When my son was 6 years old, he cried when Dave became a sergeant.”
McDonald said it was particularly poignant that his friend was retiring the same day that his son, Conor, began his first day on the job as an officer in Manhattan.
After working in Central Park, Martelli moved to the 105th Precinct in Queens Village in 1996 and joined the 111th a little more than 10 years ago.
“This place, along with Central Park, is one of the best places to work,” Martelli said. “It’s very low crime, and the people respond to you. They wave.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.