The leader of the 104th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Mark Wachter, bid farewell to his command and the community during his last day as the precinct’s commanding officer at Tuesday night’s 104th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ridgewood.
For two years, Wachter watched over Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, and Maspeth, and worked with members of the neighborhoods to not only solve crimes, but to address serious community concerns — like getting rid of many of the shady massage parlors and staying on top of the entire Maspeth homeless shelter controversy.
During his tenure as commanding officer, Wachter was also intent on making his command an even bigger part of the community by participating in events such as the NYPD Blue Goes Pink campaign to support breast cancer research, being a part of the Middle Village Relay for Life team, gathering a team of officers to play an annual charity basketball game against the students at Maspeth High School, and more personal things like taking care of elderly WWII veteran and Ridgewood resident Wilbur Hoffman before his death last year and giving him a proper military burial.
“I’ve been here the last two years and today is my last day,” Wachter announced at the meeting. “It’s a sad moment, I’ll be honest with you. I’ve been here for two years, I enjoyed it. I had a great time, I grew up in this community. It’s a hell of an opportunity to serve.”
Wacther is leaving the precinct to work in the Career Enhancement Division of the Chief of Personnel’s Office at One Police Plaza. There he will oversee different sub-units in regards to hiring, promotions, employee assistance with police officers, and education tracking.
“I’ve had a great time here, I’m going to miss the command,” he said.
Taking over the reins at the 104th Precinct is Captain John Mastronardi, a captain for the Detective Bureau where he served for over 3 1/2 years. For most of his career, Mastronardi patrolled the streets of Brooklyn North, and is honored to be given a precinct to lead.
“It is even more of an honor to have a precinct given to you in the police department,” Mastronardi said. “So to come up and serve you and officially give you something back, and give my community that I grew up in something back, is an honor. I just want to let you know you are in good hands with me. My police officers, they’re in good hands with me. And I am going to carry on the legacy of Inspector Wachter as best I can.”
As a swearing-in, Wachter presented Mastronardi with the Commanding Officer pin for the 104th Precinct, a pin that signifies the wearer as the leader of the command, the officers and the community.
“This pin means something. It means 170,000 people. You wear this pin, you’re responsible for that many people,” Wachter said.