104th Precinct lauds its ‘Cop of the Year’ at Middle Village dinner

P.O. Gonzalez (center) and his wife and two sons accepting the Cop of the Year award from 104th Precinct Community Council president, Len Santoro (left) and Capt. Mark Wachter (right).
RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

He was the finest of the 104th Precinct’s Finest this year.

P.O. Geraldo Gonzalez received the 104th Precinct Community Council’s first “Cop of the Year Award” during a dinner held at Middle Village’s Villa Erasmo restaurant on Sunday for making the biggest difference while on duty throughout 2015.

Members of the 104th Precinct Community Council, precinct commander Capt. Mark Wachter, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Mike Miller and fellow officers honored Gonzalez, who was joined by his wife and two sons.

“I feel honored,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes officers don’t get recognition for their hard work.”

Gonzalez was assigned to the 104th Precinct in January 2013. He assumed responsibility for the Precinct Graffiti program in October 2014 and is credited for working with community service graffiti cleanups with local civic organizations and neighborhood volunteers in removing graffiti from around the precinct.

“I want to be here to join all of you and my colleague Assemblyman Miller really to congratulate all of you, and especially to our officer today, Officer Gonzalez,” Meng said. “Thank you so much for your work, this is a great idea for an inaugural event … I have a little certificate from the United States Congress and I’d like to present to Officer Gonzalez.”

Gonzalez is also involved with several other programs within the precinct and outside of his life as a cop. He has assisted and mentored police officers assigned to the Field Training program, he has helped coordinate fund raising events for officers in need of assistance, and he is involved with the Police Athletic League (PAL) basketball, football and softball programs as well as volunteering as a little league football coach in upstate Orange County.

“He mentored the new police officers that came out of the police academy,” Wachter said. “[He would take] the new guys out, teaching them about the community, teaching them how to make arrests and how to do paperwork. It takes a special person to do that.”

“And also in his off-duty life … he actually has time, he is a little league football coach in Orange County,” he added. “He’s working here, he’s taking on all these additional jobs in the police department, [and] he doesn’t have to. He could just come to work, do his job and go home. But he takes these added things on at work.”