By Joe Anuta
Police Officer Amanda Graney is a lover of dogs and wears bunny slippers while giving out candy to trick-or-treaters — at least, that is what was depicted in pictures drawn by middle-school students for a new calendar distributed by the 109th Precinct Community Council.
The calendar was part of an art contest hosted by the precinct and council, which helps build a relationship between the NYPD and the people it serves, according to Graney, a youth officer for the force who works closely with the children who drew her likeness.
“Every year it’s done to improve the bond between the Police Department and the school communities,” she said. Graney appears in several of the drawings, along with squad cars, mounted officers and an NYPD helicopter hovering over various city landmarks.
Several of the youngsters who drew pictures inspired by the NYPD were honored at an annual breakfast Friday morning, where Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire, the commanding officer at the 109th, and Chrissy Voskerichian, the council president, acknowledged the support the 109th gets from neighborhood residents.
“On average, we have 100 people come to our meetings, and we are all on a first-name basis,” Voskerichian said of the large following the precinct council enjoys.
The council recently took members to visit the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan, and last year hosted a vibrant Night Out Against Crime, an event to reinforce the feeling of community in the area and to build better partnerships with the NYPD.
Many events, including the annual Christmas party, were captured in a slideshow shown to a hungry audience of council members, elected officials, sponsors and law enforcement, who shortly afterward dove into the breakfast and chatted over coffee.
The youngest members of the audience were the five winners of the precinct’s art contest for the calendar. And along with the middle-schoolers, several students from Flushing High school also took the stage to accept awards.
The high school students drew a coloring book, another annual project called “Staying Safe with the 109th Precinct.”
Thousands of copies are distributed to youngsters in the neighborhood, according to Graney.
The book consists of black-and-white drawings often accompanied by a nugget of advice, such as, “Always wear your seat belt.”
Graney, along with School Sgt. Brian McGeown, works with schools in the area to ensure students are learning in a safe environment and to head off conflicts that start in the schools but can often spill out into the streets.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it with all the help of the school administrations,” Graney said.