Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Captain John Cermeli speaks to the crowd at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting on June 25 after being introduced as the precinct's new commanding officer.

The meeting room inside the 112th Precinct station in Forest Hills was packed to capacity on June 25 as the force introduced its newest commanding officer to the community.

Captain John Cermeli, a native of Middle Village, took the podium to a round of applause after being introduced at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting by Council President Heidi Chain and Chief Steven Silks, executive officer for Patrol Borough Queens North.

Cermeli, who previously served as the executive officer for the 112th Precinct, received an award right away from the council.

Chain explained that she had wanted to give Cermeli the award for his great service to the 112 when he was stationed there, but he got transferred before she got the chance.

“So I figured, what a great way to start,” Chain said, receiving laughter from the crowd. “So the first thing I am officially doing for you is giving you an award.”

Cermeli first took the opportunity to thank Chain, Silks and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, as well as his parents who came to celebrate the occasion. His mother, Maria, was a city teacher and his father, Robert, was an architectural engineer for the city and is a current member of Community Board 5. From them, Captain Cermeli said, he learned the values of civil service and the desire to help others.

The commanding officer attended St. Margaret School in Middle Village and Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood before going on to study criminal law at SUNY Old Westbury. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Cermeli said he knew his calling was law enforcement, and he joined the NYPD a few months later.

He began his career as a police officer in the Midtown South Precinct in Manhattan, and his supervisory career has since taken him all throughout Queens. He served as a sergeant in Queens South preventing violent crimes, a lieutenant in the 114th Precinct in Astoria, a special operations lieutenant in the 108th Precinct in Long Island City, the lieutenant for the Queens North Counterterrorism unit, the executive officer of the 109th Precinct in Flushing and the executive officer of the 110th Precinct in Corona.

“I’m blessed now to be back as your commanding officer,” Cermeli said. “Not only because it’s familiar territory to me, but because this is an amazing community made up of hard-working people who support their police and want to see their neighborhood continue to thrive.”

Cermeli then gave the floor to Koslowitz, who swore in the board members of the council who will all remain in their same positions after the summer recess. Koslowitz also spoke briefly about the funding she secured in the city budget that she plans to put toward senior centers and youth programs, and she reiterated her opposition to the Queens Boulevard bike lanes in light of Ben’s Best Delicatessen and other local businesses citing them as a primary reason for a loss in customers.

“How can I, as your Council member, not listen to my constituents?” Koslowitz said to the crowd. “I’ve gotten so many calls to my office complaining about the bike lanes … so I feel it’s my obligation to come out against the next phase of the bike lanes.”

Senator Joseph Addabbo also stopped by the meeting and Cermeli introduced him, explaining that he and the fellow Molloy graduate share the same mentor in teacher John Diorio, who recently retired from Molloy after 59 years.

Addabbo stated that for the first time in his career he felt as though there was “unfinished business” when the 2018 legislative session ended. The main thing he was disappointed in was the lack of action taken to extend the use of speed cameras around schools, for which the pilot program is set to expire in July.

Cermeli concluded the meeting by updating the community with the crime statistics.

During the past 28 days there have been two fewer robberies and seven fewer burglaries than the previous month, Cermeli said. He also warned residents about mailbox fishing — or even mailbox stealing — and mentioned that an arrest was made very quickly in the case of an MTA worked getting assaulted while off duty in Kew Gardens.

In addition, Cermeli announced that the Neighborhood Coordination Officers program will begin in the 112th Precinct in two weeks.


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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. June 29, 2018 / 04:54PM
Assaulting an MTA employee is punishable of up to 7 years in state prison.

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