Located two blocks east of Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, the 104th Precinct‘s headquarters at 64-02 Catalpa Ave. is surrounded by residential side streets too narrow for vehicles traveling in opposite directions to pass each other.
The precinct lacks an off-street parking lot of its own, so officers stationed there have to park their cars and pickup trucks — including official NYPD vehicles — along those side streets. This puts the officers in constant competition with area residents for parking space.
If that’s not rough enough, the building itself is also more than 80 years old, and has undergone numerous repairs and technological upgrades to keep up with the demands of 21st-century crime-fighting.
But all that could soon change, as Councilman Robert Holden announced on Oct. 25 that he’s actively working to build a new 104th Precinct stationhouse somewhere within its confines of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.
Moreover, he’s also campaigning to find new headquarters for the 102nd and 108th precincts in Richmond Hill and Long Island City, respectively. Both commands patrol parts of Holden’s Council district and, like the 104th Precinct, have outdated buildings located in crowded residential areas with limited off-street parking space.
Holden’s announcement comes just days after the NYPD rolled out its Neighborhood Community Officer (NCO) program in the 104th Precinct. The city views the NCO as a more modern approach toward community policing, and the lawmaker believes the department must also work to modernize the precincts themselves.
“The need for repairs at our precincts will only continue to grow in the coming years,” Holden said in a statement. “Bringing new facilities to our police will not only complement the NCO program’s mission, but encourage members of the community to take even more pride in the men and women who patrol their streets.”
According to Holden, the 102nd, 104th and 108th precincts each require headquarters situated on lots large enough to provide ample off-street parking for private vehicles and patrol cars. They should each also have a modern command building complete with a large community room in which to hold regular meetings.
His vision, however, is still a long way from becoming a reality. There were no specific sites for new police precincts offered in his statement, nor was there any mention of cost estimates or available funding.
According to Holden spokesperson Ryan Kelley, the lawmaker “wanted to get the idea out there” and start a conversation in light of the introduction of the NCO program.
The councilman has spoken with high-ranking members of the NYPD about building the new precincts and they have been receptive, Kelley added. He added that Holden is hopeful the NYPD would make replacing aging precincts across Queens would become a high priority.
The lawmaker maintains that the city owes it to the NYPD officers “who don their uniforms to protect and serve the community, to build a new, state-of-the-art facility that mirrors the 21st century.”
“My intent is to work with my colleagues in government to actively search for potential sites for precinct placement,” Holden added.
The councilman will look to allocate city funding toward the projects, but the bulk of the funding would likely need to come from other city offices including the mayor and borough president, according to Holden’s office.
QNS reached out to the NYPD for comment about the matter and is awaiting a response.