Youngsters get a behind-the-scenes look of the 113th Precinct

All youngsters received a graduation certificate for participating in the inaugural 113th Precinct Youth Police Academy event.
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Twenty-six youngsters between the ages of 5 and 17 not only got an insight into how a police station is run but also what a police station looks like at the inaugural 113th Precinct Youth Police Academy event at the 113th Precinct in Jamaica on Apr. 30. 

Twenty-six kids got a chance to tour the 113th Precinct in Jamaica. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Inspector Ray Jenkins, commanding officer of the 113th Precinct, kicked off the event with a uniform inspection of the aspiring cops, with the youngest dressed in police uniforms and the teenagers sporting shirts reading “future police officers.” 

Inspector Ray Jenkins, commanding officer of the 113th Precinct, addresses the future cops. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The event was the brainchild of Inspector Jenkins and Garfield Towler, president of the 113th Precinct Committee Council. 

Jenkins told QNS that the event was a great way to interact with the community and provide an opportunity for the kids to see what a police precinct looks like from the inside, interact with police officers and learn about the resources and tools the NYPD uses to keep the community safe. 

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“[The kids] are very enthusiastic, motivated, and you know, they’re just happy to be here and spending the day with us,” Jenkins said.

Before the young people went on “patrol” and experienced first-hand what life inside a police station looked like, Assistant Chief Kevin Williams of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South addressed the kids. 

Williams told the young people that cops were there to keep the community safe. While he realized that not all of them would join the NYPD one day, he encouraged them to become the best they could be. 

“Whatever you decide to do, the first thing you got to do, you’ve got to respect your parents,” Williams emphasized. “The second thing, when you go back to school tomorrow, you’re going to work hard to get the best grades. And when you do those two things, great things happen in your life.”

Once Williams wrapped up his speech, the kids were divided into five groups under the leadership of an NYPD officer and went on their first beat through the station house. They reported to duty at the front desk, met detectives, checked out the jail cells and learned about stranger danger, what to do in an emergency and that cops are their friends. 

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Outdoor activities included a visit from Detective McGruff and a tour of NYPD vehicles. NYPD officer Dan Bosco with the NYPD Emergency Service K-9 Team introduced his dog, K9 Tuz, who is named after NYPD Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, who was killed in the line of duty in 2016, while another highlight was Det. Pamela Bond with the NYPD Mounted Unit and her horse Torch.

NYPD officer Dan Bosco of the NYPD Emergency Service K-9 Team introduced his dog, K9 Tuz. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

After completing their tour, participants received a graduation certificate from Jenkins and Towler. 

(Left to right) Garfield Towler and Inspector Ray Jenkins present participant Sophia Hzeife with a graduation certificate. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Towler told QNS that some of the participants wanted to be police officers and thought the event was a great way to introduce the kids to the life of a cop and teach them that cops are not bad people, contrary to how law enforcement is portrayed in the media at times.

Det. Bond introduced her horse Torch to the kids. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“[We want to] involve more young children because we don’t want to wait until they go to jail and then deal with them. We want to protect them from getting there,” Towler explained. 

Detective McGruff made a surprise appearance. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Tyrone Dantzler, chaplain for the 113th Precinct, described the event as “awesome” because it exposed the kids to the positive aspects of policing. 

Besides the precinct tour, the kids were allowed to try out the “bells and whistles” of a cop car. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“There’s so much bad going on in the community, with community and police, that at this age, they’re already exposed to a negative, and they need to be exposed to a positive,” Dantzler told QNS. “So this little affair, hopefully, even if they don’t become a police officer, they have a different feel.” 

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Sixteen-year-old participant Amiyah Williams had never been inside a police precinct. Williams thought it was a great experience to see what went on behind the scenes of a police precinct and learn that there was more to a police precinct than just uniformed officers, but that there were also detectives and law enforcement doing the background work. 

“It was more than I expected it to be,” Williams said. “A police precinct has a lot of different roles and different jobs in the precinct. When I think of a precinct, I think of people at desks, people just working, but to see the different cells and the different types of police officers was really cool to see.”