A large group of family, friends and uniformed police officers from the NYPD 112th Precinct in Forest Hills were gathered at Yellowstone Boulevard and Austin Street to honor late NYPD Detective Jeffrey Alan Lee with a street co-naming ceremony on Saturday, April 22.
Pedestrian Way, located between Yellowstone Boulevard and Booth Street, will now be known as ‘Detective Jeffrey Alan Lee Way.’
Lee was a 26 year veteran of the NYPD. He served most of his career as the youth officer for the 112th Precinct, where he was instrumental in safeguarding the well-being of thousands of children in and around Forest Hills and Rego Park. Lee was later promoted to detective, where was assigned to the 112th Precinct Detective Squad. Lee became ill from Sept. 11 related issues and died in 2018.
“Detective Lee has been part of the 112 Precinct family and the Forest Hills community, and I think it is only fitting that the corner of Austin Street and Yellowstone Boulevard be renamed in his honor, at the place where he spent his entire career impacting this community in such a meaningful way,” said Assistant Chief Christine Bastedenbeck, commanding officer of Queens North.
Bastedenbeck remembered Lee as a mentor and positive role model for so many, whose “character, selflessness and guidance helped mold many young people into the leaders they are today.”
Lee’s colleagues described him as a funny, good-natured, hardworking man who was always willing to go above and beyond to help the people in the community.
“One word comes to mind when I think of him, and that’s resilient,” Bastedenbeck said. “Lee had health issues during his career and was a recipient of the NYPD’s Theodore Roosevelt Award for officers who return to the job despite serious injury or illness,” Bastedenbeck said.
Eika Vinces, a former NYPD explorer of Lee’s program, said they have opened a scholarship in Lee’s name where they give explorers from different branches a scholarship every year. Additionally, they have also started The Hero Fund NYC, a charitable organization to honor the memory of Lee to fund various causes related to youth, law enforcement, mentorship and civic duty.
The Hero Fund was established by members and friends of Lee, including former law enforcement explorers he guided during his time as a youtube officer. Annual scholarships are provided to Scouting USA Law Enforcement Explorers from ages 14 to 20 in the name of Lee.
“As for that little girl who was 6 years old that he came to save, I am honored to be here,” Vinces ssaid. “I am honored to have been chosen as one of his explorers, as one of his kids and his daughter, that he very much held my hand until the very last day he took a breath.”
Lee’s wife, Taina Lee, and daughter, Taylor Lee, gave remarks at the ceremony.
“Besides being a wonderful detective, police officer, he was a great human being,” Taina said. “I was lucky to have him in my life since I was 12 years old and I miss him every day. I’m so proud of him and he’ll always live in my heart.”
Taylor acknowledged the precinct for their love and support.
“The 112 Precinct has been a big part of my life — I grew up here,” Taylor said. “So to have your love and support throughout this time has meant the world to me. Since he passed, I haven’t forgotten him and I feel his love through you all. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from my dad is to take care of the people who take care of you, so thank you for taking care of me and my mom.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane