Oct. 12, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The 114th Precinct launched a new model of community policing last week, aiming to increase community involvement and decrease response times.
The new Neighborhood Policing Program, which launched on October 3 assigns two neighborhood coordination officers (NCOs) full time to one of four designated sections of the precinct, allowing them to familiarize themselves with a small section of the community.
These NCOs are assigned to be the “overall problem solvers” of their sector, explained Commanding Officer Peter Fortune at the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association meeting last night.
Fortune said that community members will be encouraged to get in touch with their specific NCOs with problems, and it will allow the officers to gain a strong knowledge of their sector and encourage more long-term problem solving.
“They’re the ones who should know what’s going on in the community,” Fortune said, referring to the NCOs. “They’re going to be your eyes and ears of what’s going on in this area.”
In addition to assigning an NCO team to each sector, the new program will also incorporate “steady sector” policing, which assigns the same officers to the same sector for every shift, again with the aim of familiarity between the community and the officers patrolling it.
The new system also allows each steady sector team to spend a third of their time on “off duty patrol,” essentially giving them time to attend community meetings and events and familiarize themselves with residents of the area.
At any given time there will be at least two steady sector cars in each sector, increasing the number of cars on the streets, Fortune said.
In order to accomplish this new system, Fortune restructured the department. In the past, about half of the manpower in the 114th Precinct was on a specialty team, focusing on a specific issue, with the other half answering 911 calls.
To institute the new system, Fortune cut down on specialty teams, only keeping the domestic violence and trafficking teams, and put the rest back on to general patrol, to increase the number of 911 responders.
Fortune described the new system as a collaboration between the 114th Precinct and the community. “We have to be as transparent as we can with one another,” he said. “We have to work with you as much as we’re asking you to work with us.”
“We’re confident that not only is it going to reduce crime, but it will also build community relations,” Fortune said.
The new boundaries for the sectors are:
Sector Adam, with assigned NCOs PO Krala and PO Lewandowski, runs from Astoria Boulevard South to 37th Avenue, from Steinway Street to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
Sector Boy, with assigned NCOs PO Masouridis and PO Holly, runs from 19th Avenue to Astoria Boulevard North, 20th Avenue to Hoyt Avenue North, and Shore Boulevard to 81st Street.
Sector Charlie, with assigned NCOs PO Bedoya and PO Ferraro, runs from Astoria Boulevard South to Northern Boulevard and Hoyt Avenue South to Northern Boulevard, all from Steinway Street to the east side of 21st Street.
Sector David, with assigned NCOs PO Matthes and PO Esposito, runs from Astoria Park South to Queens Plaza North and from the West side of 21st Street to the water front, and also covers all of Roosevelt Island.