Captain John Hall officially took over the position on March 5. Inspector William McBride, the previous commander, was transferred to another position within the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
Hall, a Sunnyside resident, is a 13-year NYPD veteran who has spent time working in multiple boroughs, the new commander told QNS in a March 8 interview. After joining the force in 2005, he served as an officer in West Harlem, a narcotics detective in Manhattan south, a sergeant in the Bronx and a special projects lieutenant in Chinatown.
Hall attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on a job scholarship from 2013 to 2014 and then joined the Bronx’s 48th and 49th precincts as an executive officer. He arrived to the 111th Precinct after a five-month stint at the Police Commissioner’s Office, where he was assigned to the Neighborhood Policing Strategy Group.
The captain also worked as an executive officer at the 111th Precinct, which covers areas of Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck, for the previous six months. During this time he gained a familiarity with the command.
“I’ve worked in a whole bunch of different settings,” he said.
The 111th Precinct will officially roll out the new Neighborhood Policing program — which is being phased in at each precinct in the city — on April 1. It will be divided into four sectors (A-D) that correspond to the command’s established neighborhood boundary lines. Maps of each sector (which are subject to change before the roll out date) can be seen below.
Each sector will have two designated neighborhood coordination officers (NCOs), who will serve as liaisons between the police and the community. Additionally, the same officers will work in the same neighborhoods on the same shifts.
The comprehensive plan is meant to strengthen the connection between NYPD officers and the local community through a more community-based approach to policing. Hall, who had a hand in developing the department-wide program, said the implementation will “change the way patrol officers view patrol.”
“Basically, we’re re-orienting patrol so that these guys that are handling the 911 calls have geographic responsibility for different areas of the command,” he said. “I think when you give the patrol cops a face to the problem — so it’s not just a call, something that comes on a screen — I think it’s more motivating.”
Quarterly “Build the Block” meetings will also be held in each of the sectors, providing “a good venue for neighborhood-specific complaints,” Hall said.
Before he arrived at the 111th, Hall researched the precinct and the crime that impacts the command.
“I wanted to hit the ground running,” he said. “I looked at old newspaper articles, looked at all the crime stats — you can’t just be guided by stats, though.”
Burglaries and quality-of-life concerns are high on Hall’s radar.
“My primary concern, always, will be reducing crime,” he said. “Right now, we’re up in burglaries. It has slowed down, but at the end of last year, there was a little spike. We only had two burglaries last week, but two is two burglaries too many, as far as I’m concerned.”
Hall also went through the precinct’s historical 311 complaints, where he found many were related to quality of life.
“A lot of them are parking-related — with the derelict vehicles, people leaving their cars with the plates on or off — throughout the precinct,” he said. “That’s a challenge that I also faced in the Bronx.”
In his first days on the job, Hall was presented a list of all the community groups in the area and their leaders. He looks forward to meeting each of them.
“If you hear the police commissioner [James O’Neill], he always says that, ‘Public safety is a shared responsibility,'” Hall said. “That’s something that this community clearly already knows, even if it hasn’t been explicitly said. I want to meet all of these [community leaders]. It’s amazing how many there are.”