By Bill Parry
If you are going to drink and drive, it’s best you don’t travel through western Queens now that Capt. John Travaglia is in command at the 108th Precinct. From his new station house at 5-47 50th Ave. Travaglia will oversee the squad that covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and a chunk of Maspeth where burglaries and property-related crime normally rank high on the priority list.
The new commander will put traffic concerns right at the top of that list after spending nearly half of his 22 years at the NYPD on the Highway Patrol.
“This precinct is in the crossroads of the city’s nightlife, including Astoria,” Travaglia said. “You’ve got drivers coming off the Queensboro Bridge and through the Midtown Tunnel using the big thoroughfares like the Long Island Expressway and Queens and Northern Boulevards. I’ve seen too many drunk driving incidents in the 108 over the years. They’ve had a great DWI program already in place and I think I can improve on it.”
The captain also believes his Highway Patrol experience gives him the upper hand in further implementing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. “No question, it absolutely does give me an edge in that department,” he said.
This will be Travaglia’s first time as a commanding officer after spending the last eight months as the executive officer at the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Before that the self-described Jets fan from Long Island spent 3 1/2 years at the 104th Precinct in Maspeth.
“Between Highway Patrol and the two precincts, you can say I have a great familiarity with the streets of western Queens, a great familiarity with the entire region,” he said. After beginning his career in 1993 at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village, Travaglia moved on to stints at the 113th in Jamaica and the 104th in Ridgewood.
Travaglia’s latest move fills the post that was vacated two weeks ago when the NYPD shifted Capt. Brian Hennessy to the larger 114th Precinct in Jackson Heights. Both men believe that community policing is a core component of the NYPD’s methodology and Travaglia plans to work diligently to build on the efforts of his predecessor.
“I was telling my officers just the other day that I love Capt. Hennessy,” Travaglia said. “I’ve known him for years. He’s a wonderful guy, very involved with the community. He’s left me with a well running ship. There’s nothing I see here in the 108th that needs to be changed. I’ll just put my touch on things during the next few months.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.