New top cop takes over at 111th Precinct

Photo by Rich Bockmann
By Rich Bockmann

The 111th Precinct has a new commanding officer.

After 20 months as Bayside’s top cop, Ron Leyson has been promoted to deputy inspector and taken the reins of the 110th Precinct, covering Corona and Elmhurst.

He stopped by Community Board 11’s monthly meeting at MS 158 in Bayside Monday evening to introduce his successor, Capt. Jason Huerta, whom Leyson praised as an “excellent executive.”

Huerta has 21 years of experience in the department, most recently spending three years as a captain in the Impact Zone that straddles the 110th and 115th precincts covering Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

“I grew up Flushing, so I’m pretty familiar with the neighborhood,” said Huerta, who added he was impressed by the area’s relatively low crime rates.

“The crime numbers are very hard to work with because they’re so low,” he continued, and noted that crimes such as burglaries and grand larcenies remained the major concerns of the precinct.

“I’ve only been here a week, but from what I can tell, property thefts continue to spike,” he said and as his predecessor was wont to do, Huerta advised residents to be aware of their surroundings and to take precautions such as providing good lighting around their homes.

Leyson recognized the “relationship of trust” he had built over his tenure with the community board, elected officials, civics, local media and “even Frank.”

Board member Frank Skala was one of several members who, later in the evening, criticized the NYPD’s policy of changing a precinct’s commanding officer every couple of years.

“It’s like musical chairs,” he said. “There’s no continuity.”

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said he believed the department chose to do so in order to keep commanding officers from becoming too complacent and too close with community members.

In other news, the board voted unanimously to approve the Douglaston Greenmarket for another year, which is scheduled to be in operation from July 8 through Nov. 18.

When the city’s Greenmarket program presented its application to the board last year, community members, most notably from the Doug-Bay Manor Civic Association, voiced their opposition based on concerns over increased traffic in the area.

“I believe we’ve won them over,” said Iannece, who added the market was a success last year, although he felt that it “could be better attended.”

The board also voted to approve a cabaret license for the Safari Beach Club, at 40-05 Bell Blvd., for a term of 10 years, and discussed plans to seek community input on parking regulations around Queensborough Community College.

CB 11 will hold elections at its next meeting, March 5. Iannece said he is eligible for one more term as chairman and plans to run for the position.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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