During last week’s National Night Out festivities, the 100th Precinct of Rockaway Beach honored South Queens Councilwoman Joann Ariola with the NYPD Civilian Commendation Award for her efforts to improve the area’s “public safety, quality of life and police-community relations.”
Ariola, who first took office in early 2022, represents District 32, which encompasses the 100th Precinct’s neighborhoods of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Neponsit, Rockaway Park and Roxbury, as well as Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.
“Councilwoman Ariola has been a tireless supporter of law enforcement, especially here in the 100th Precinct,” said Deputy Inspector Carlos Fabara, the precinct’s commanding officer. “She’s involved in everything from quality of life to addressing constituent issues, really supporting us here in the precinct and keeping us connected.”
Since taking office, Ariola, who sits on the committee of public safety, has worked with the 100th Precinct on a variety of efforts, including the formation of a Community Solutions Task Force last summer to address quality of life issues on Beach 116th Street, the peninsula’s popular business block which has become riddled with garbage, unkempt storefronts and an increased homeless population in recent years.
Efforts to improve the block’s safety have continued over the last year. In addition to establishing the task force, Ariola’s office walked throughout 116th Street on Tuesday with representatives from the 100th Precinct, Queens Chamber of Commerce and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office to talk to the block’s business owners about safety concerns.
Going forward, Ariola’s office hopes to bring the Merchants Trespass Notice Program to Beach 116th Street, which would allow the block’s business owners to revoke a person’s authority to enter a store and make them subject to arrest and prosecution for trespass if they return to the site after a warning. This program was first launched in Jamaica in 2021 and in Flushing earlier this year.
Ariola’s outspokenness for public safety has even gone beyond her own district. In late 2022, Ariola and other council members called out progressive lawmakers for policy “failures” in addressing the city’s “out-of-control crime levels.” At the time, citywide major crime was up nearly 27.5% from the year before, according to police data.
Most recently, Ariola called out those who participated in last week’s chaos in Union Square, which stemmed from a giveaway event hosted by Twitch streamer Kai Cenat, who has since been charged with inciting a riot.
“This kind of reckless behavior, with police officers assaulted and property destroyed by a crowd numbering in the thousands, should not be tolerated,” Ariola said. “I wholeheartedly commend the men and women of the NYPD who responded to this incident … for their restraint and professionalism.”
Prior to receiving the NYPD Civilian Commendation Award, Ariola emphasized the importance of supporting the men and women in blue to ensure the community is being protected and adequately served.
“It’s important for us to show community support for our NYPD,” Ariola told QNS. “They’re there as people that want to do the best. When they put on that badge and that uniform, it’s not to hurt us. It’s to make our lives better and keep us safe.”
Once presented with the award, Ariola expressed her gratitude for the recognition.
“I’m going to display this proudly,” she said.