Photo by Michael Shain
By Naeisha Rose

The New York Police Department will roll out its neighborhood policing program for the 105th Precinct Monday in Bellerose, but residents south of the police station are taking issue with the initiative being presented in the northern part of the district when the complaints regarding aggressive police tactics have been on the southern end of the precinct’s coverage area.

The April 30 introduction of the program at the Queens High School of Teaching, located at 74-20 Commonwealth Blvd., left community members upset at a Cambria Heights Civic Association meeting earlier this month.

“The NYPD is a brand,” said Jon Logan, a Cambria Heights resident. “A lot of the inquiries or the challenging questions will come from the residents down south.”

Logan said the major point of contention for residents on the southern side of the precinct was the meeting being moved from Queens Village to the school in Bellerose without much of an explanation.

“We have been speaking with the commanding officer, Inspector Jeff Schiff, for quite some time about this…and where it is going to happen,” said Logan.

Logan said he is pro-cop, pro-law enforcement, but also pro-common sense and has been attending 105th Precinct Council meetings for the past two years.

The precinct coverage area stretches from Glen Oaks in the north to Springfield Gardens in the south, and the headquarters are located at 92-08 222nd St. in Queens Village.

“Initially, at a couple of meetings that I attended it was going to be at a church or a hall on Springfield Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, very close to where the Community Board 13 office is,” said Logan. “Suddenly there was an invitation — only a flier — at a community board meeting saying that it was going to be at the Queens High School, which was a surprise to me.”

The invitation only designation has since been changed after complaints were made, according to Logan.

The community board’s office is at 219-41 Jamaica Ave. in Queens Village.

At a January community board meeting, some concerns were raised about whether or not the officers would be residents from the area and what their duties would be.

“We don’t have a relationship with our local police where we can have some influence over the policy of how we are policed,” Logan said. “No. 2… what are their roles? Are they going to be crime fighters, or are they going to be community liaisons?”

The NCO program seems to be a bit of both.

“The cornerstone of today’s NYPD is Neighborhood Policing, a comprehensive crime-fighting strategy built on improved communication and collaboration between local police officers and community residents,” said Lt. John Grimpel. “Neighborhood Policing greatly increases connectivity and engagement with the community without diminishing and, in fact, improving the NYPD’s crime-fighting capabilities.”

Grimpel went on to say that past policing left little to no time for true community engagement before.

“In recent years, the Patrol Services Bureau has systematically reorganized its patrol methods to achieve the goal of establishing Neighborhood Policing in every precinct citywide by 2019,” said Grimpel, an NYPD spokesman.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who was at the civic meeting, is looking forward to the NCO program, but also agreed with the Cambria Heights residents that the rollout should have been on the southern end of the precinct.

“It’s a great thing,” said Miller about the program. “If ever there was a precinct that needs neighborhood policing, it’s the 105th, but what I find disturbing is that they are rolling it out in Bellerose.”

Miller reiterated Logan’s sentiments and said “that the people who have concerns live on the south side” of the precinct.

Miller said he would work on getting a second NCO meeting on the southern side of the precinct.

“We are going to make sure that [an NCO meeting] comes down here,” the councilman said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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