By Mark Hallum
The reorganization continues at NYPD’s 111th Precinct, based in Bayside, as it welcomes a new Community Affairs officer many in the neighborhood may already know.
Officer Chas Briant has been with the 111th for about four years as a patrolman but is making the transition into Community Affairs as Officer Luigi Galano has recently been assigned to Crime Analysis at the precinct.
Briant, a naturalized U.S. citizen, started his career in law enforcement with the Metropolitan Police in London and moved to New York eight years ago to be with his wife, who is also in the NYPD.
“I’ve only been in Community Affairs for a short period of time. This is my third week, but it was always something that I wanted to do,” Briant said. “I guess wanting to become a police officer, you do it because you want to help people and make a difference to the community and I think Community Affairs is focused so much on the community aspect of things. It’s enjoyable.”
As the 111th Precinct kicks up its Neighborhood Policing Program, in which Neighborhood Coordination Officers will oversee sectors within the precinct, two subordinate Community Affairs officers will work side-by-side with NCOs.
“We’re going to be working hand-in-hand with the [NCOs],” Briant said. “We as Community Affairs know all the community leaders, the civic associations and we’re going to be a great contact for the NCOs because we already have the relationships established, which is why I think it’s going to work great with us being in the same office.”
Residents will be able to text these officers about neighborhood problems since the 111th Precinct and others like it cover a large swath of the city.
Officer Melissa Bonilla is leading the Neighborhood Policing Program in the 111th, with her partner and four other officers overseeing four sectors within the precinct.
“I think that part of resolving crimes within commands involves collaborating with the community,” Bonilla “Police can handle so much, but maybe the community members know something that we don’t know, maybe we can encourage them to add on surveillance cameras, encourage them to make certain efforts in order to reduce crime or to help find the perpetrators we’re looking for. Maybe they know that person. It’s important for us to improve our relationship with them.”
Capt. John Hall, who became the commanding officer at the 111th in March, had spent time developing the Neighborhood Policing Program at 1 Police Plaza. He said there are many advantages to the new approach to law enforcement in the city.
“One of the advantages is we can break up that area and have officers assigned to each part,” Hall said. “Also, the patrol officers who typically run radio call after radio call, they’re going to have time off patrol to actually interact with the public and deal with the problems that come up … [Patrol officers] are going to be more community facing than they have been previously.”
Crime is down 20 percent this year over 2017 levels in the 111th, according to NYPD crime stats.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall