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a Set of Eyes for Streets

Pol Seeks Cameras For Elmhurst, Corona

Street cameras may become part of the landscape of the 110th Precinct, as a local lawmaker announced a push to install them during the 110th Precinct Community Council’s Monday, Apr. 16 meeting at Flanders Field VFW Post 150 in Corona.

Sgt. Dominick DeSiervi (left) was honored as the 110th Precinct’s Cop of the Month at Apr. 16 meeting of the 110th Precinct Community Council. DeSiervi, holding a plaque donated by the Times Newsweekly, was honored by Capt. Mark Wachter, the precinct’s executive officer (center) and Precinct Council President Evelyn DeCoursey for breaking up a fight on Mar. 31 and arresting a man carrying a firearm. DeSiervi’s partner and fellow honoree, P.O. Michael Grimm, was unable to attend.

City Council Member Julissa Ferreras told the crowd that she is working to obtain funds for approximately 14 cameras at strategic locations in the precinct, including Roosevelt Avenue.

“There’s nothing like a live shot, and that is why our community deserves [the cameras],” she stated.

“This year, we are looking at very tough economic times,” but the lawmaker expressed hopes for a balanced city budget without major cuts.

Retiring Det. Richard Garland (second from right) of the 110th Precinct Community Affairs Unit was honored by Precinct Council Precinct Evelyn DeCoursey for his service to the community. At left is Garland’s wife Dawn with their children, Evan (second from left) Sara (third from left), and Clare (in front of Sarah).

In particular, she told the crowd that she expects to be able to fund the precinct’s National Night Out Against Crime event.

Turning to women’s issues, Ferreras announced a series of initiatives designed to make the streets safer for women.

“Our area is becoming increasingly more difficult for women to travel alone,” she explained.

On May 5, the lawmaker is sponsoring a “safety audit” where residents will walk the streets of the 110th Precinct to examine how to make the streets safer.

Prostitution, meanwhile, “is going underground,” due to the 110th Precinct’s enforcement of the crime along Roosevelt Avenue, Ferreras said.

For more information about the safety audit, call the lawmaker’s office at 1-718-651-1917.

Crime report

Crime is down 10 percent in the 110th Precinct, Capt. Mark Wachter, the precinct’s executive officer, announced.

“For the last month, crime has been going down,” he stated.

The precinct is doing well in burglaries, according to Wachter, who claimed that burglaries are “usually a very big problem in (Patrol Borough) Queens North.”

The precinct also had only six stolen cars over the past month, which Wachter called “phenomenal.”

However, the precinct experienced two homicides. In one, an 89- year-old man was found beaten to death in his 43rd Avenue apartment on Mar. 26..

“It’s a very horrific story,” Wachter said, adding that the crime is still being investigated.

The other homicide was a Mar. 25 shooting of a man from Lefrak City on a local street. This is also under investigation.

(Editor’s note: according to police sources, the man was found shot at the wheel of his car, which had smashed into another vehicles at the Horace Harding Expressway and Junction Boulevard.)

However, the precinct did arrest a man accused of shooting a man in the arm during a dispute on 51st Avenue and 108th Street.

One resident asked Watcher if the precinct has plans to address gang issues on Lamont Avenue when warmer weather arrives

Wachter responded that the precinct has moved 26 additional officers into the area to crack down on illegal activity.

According to the executive officer, the cops will be cracking down on quality-of-life issues in the hope of curbing larger crimes.

Parks problems

One resident reported the pres- ence of fire pits on the grounds of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park across from the New York Hall of Science, and asked who is responsible for policing the issue.

“Barbecuing is not allowed in the parks; I’ll tell you that straight out,” said Wachter.

According to the officer, enforcement of the issue is up to Parks Department personnel, but due to the small numbers of Parks Enforcement Personnel (PEP) throughout the city, the 110th Precinct will respond to issues at Flushing Meadows.

“We’re not going to go there and be the barbecue police,” added Wachter, who explained that he did not want cops to give “an honest person” a summons but would rather educate residents.

Ferreras added that Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has exactly one PEP officer.

“We need to take ownership of our park,” the lawmaker said, adding that she is seeking residents to join the park’s conservancy group.

Cops of the Month

Sgt. Dominick DeSiervi and P.O. Michael Grimm of the 110th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Team were honored as the precinct’s Cops of the Month for their response to a Mar. 31 incident at 94th Street and Corona Avenue.

According to Wachter, the duo came upon a melee at the location at about 1:30 a.m. and came out of their car to break it up.

One of the combatants pulled out a firearm, and a chase ensued; the two officers end up arresting the man involved, who Wachter claimed was a known gang member who had been previously arrested for robbery.

“When guns come out, we do exercise control, and this is a perfect example,” Wachter stated.

For their efforts, the officers received plaques courtesy of the Times Newsweekly. Grimm was not in attendance to receive his award.

Auxiliary patrol

Deputy Inspector Phylis Byrne, the head of the NYPD’s Auxiliary Units, gave the crowd an overview of her office’s efforts.

According to Byrne, the NYPD now deploys the officers much like local precincts do, based on crime trends.

“It’s made quite an impact on crime strategy … and it’s helped with a lot of problems in different areas,” Byrne said.

Currently, the precinct has 4,300 auxiliary officers, larger than the Nassau and Suffolk police departments combined.

There are 450 auxiliary cops in Patrol Borough Queens North and 48 in the 110th Precinct.

There are auxiliaries in every unit, including all transit districts, police service areas and harbor units.

The auxiliary officers are “civicminded individuals such as yourself.” ages 17 and over. There is no upper age limit, but the volunteers must be physically fit.

The officers must either live in the city or work in the city and live in neighboring counties. They must also be citizens, lawful permanent residents, or individuals on work visas.

Prospective volunteers will also be subject to a background check.

If accepted, officers will attend an 18-week training class which includes workshops on terrorism, domestic violence and other issues of note as well as self-defense training. The classes are one day a week, three to four hours a day.

Officers are asked to volunteers 144 hours a year. Many of them work special events such as New Year’s Eve, the New York City Marathon or the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Byrne noted that at the marathon, an equal number of auxiliary and police officers worked to maintain safety.

Other news

The 110th Precinct will have its sixth annual Cop of the Year fundraiser on May 16 at the Grandstand Pub, at 85-25 Grand Ave. in Glendale.

Officers to be honored at the event will be Lt. Peter Calderon, P.O. Elvis Santana, P.O. Kevin Russell and P.O. Hector Jordan, as well as Council Member Daniel Dromm, the Queens Center Mall, and A.P.O. Denise Cato.

The meeting doubled as the retirement party for Det. Richard Garland of the precinct’s Community Affairs Unit.

“It’s really been a heck of a ride,” said Garland. “People in this community always treated me like family.”

The 110th Precinct Community Council meets on the third Monday of the month at either the Bethzatha Church of God, located at 85-20 57th Ave. in Elmhurst, or at Flanders Field VFW Post #150, at 51-11 108th St. in Corona.

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