By Tom Momberg
A new street sign on 108th Street in Richmond Hill now bears the name of the NYPD’s former deputy commissioner for crime control, Jack Maple.
The NYPD held a street co-naming ceremony on Monday, following a resolution passed by the City Council earlier this year, honoring the late officer on the street on which he grew up.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton shared several stories about Maple, a transit police officer credited with establishing the department’s data-driven policing model ComStat in 1994. Bratton also read passages from a book Maple co-wrote, “The Crime Fighter: Putting the Bad Guys Out of Business.”
Bratton said that as much as he misses Maple, who died after a battle with colon cancer in 2001, he was fortunate to have known him, and that the city was fortunate for the time he spent serving the NYPD.
“For those of you who don’t know Jack, even in telling these stories, you really cannot understand the fun we had with him, but also how much we learned from him,” Bratton said.
The police commissioner described Maple’s character as bold and unabashed, honest and stern in a man with a great sense of humor. The stories he shared brought color to his description of the late officer who spent the first half of his career patrolling Times Square and the 42nd Street train station.
Bratton said when ComStat was initiated, he was able to compare locations where crime complaints had come from with locations where officers were being dispatched, noting they often were not the same. He recalled a conversation Maple had with officers who thought one building was too dangerous to go to.
“Jack with smoke coming out of his ears said, ‘Can you imagine how dangerous it is for that 65-year-old woman with shopping bags going in and out of that building every day? And you, a New York City cop with your gun and your badge, you are afraid to go there, too,’” Bratton said quoting Maple. “That was the essence of Jack Maple: He had to be where the crime was.”
The NYPD was joined for the unveiling of Jack Maple Place by Maple’s family and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who sponsored the street co-naming.
“I would like to think it was divine providence that inspired Jack to come up with what we now know as ComStat, a truly revolutionary idea,” Ulrich said in his remarks. “It turned this city around, it turned other cities around. Other police departments are now using it around America. What a profound impact this one person, this one kid from Richmond Hill, had on this community, on this city and on this country. Other people have something to offer, too. Hopefully his life, his legacy which we honor today, will inspire others to do just that.”
Maple’s sister, Anna Marie Schadt, was visibly moved by the street naming ceremony, speaking with deep sentiment and admiration for her brother’s character.
“Jack will always have a permanent place in my heart, but now because of the good people here today, he will always have a place here on the block of our childhood home here in Richmond Hill,”she said. “What a beautiful example of unity between community and the NYPD working together to honor one of their own.”
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb