2017-05-18 / Other News

Local Precinct Hosts First Meeting Of Neighborhood Coordination Officers

By Dara Mormile

Councilman Alan Maisel, center, touts the NCO program. Police Officers Matthew Mauro (left) and John Bridgwood (right) are also pictured. Councilman Alan Maisel, center, touts the NCO program. Police Officers Matthew Mauro (left) and John Bridgwood (right) are also pictured. When a unique and “revolutionary style” of community policing launched in October 2016 to improve relations between the community and police officers, many questioned how it would change Canarsie’s quality of life. In order to educate residents, and become more accessible to the public, the 69th Precinct recently hosted the first of four meetings where new Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) introduced themselves and spoke about their mission to foster a healthy relationship with the community .

Dozens gathered at St. Alban’s Church on Wednesday, May 10th, where NCOs from the precinct’s “Sector A” addressed residents’ concerns. The boundaries of their patrol are from the east side of Ralph Avenue to Louisiana Avenue and Avenue D to the north side of Flatlands Avenue.

Police Officers Matthew Mauro and John Bridgwood are the NCOs for the sector and will be patrolling that portion of the command with the same team every day during alternating tours from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. until midnight.

“If a crime takes place on the border of our assigned sector, it doesn’t mean we won’t respond, but there are three other sectors with NCOs who will immediately respond to the call if they’re closer,” Officer Mauro said.

Police Officers Mauro and Bridgwood provided their cell phone numbers and said they’ve thus far addressed quality of life issues in their sector such as 311 calls, gun arrests and abandoned/suspicious vehicles. Overall, the officers want the community to feel confident in reaching out to them.

While residents were grateful for the officers availing themselves on a more personal basis, many agreed they want to see police conducting foot patrols instead of driving around in their cruisers. “I want to see officers walking the beat and introducing themselves to us like they used to,” one resident said.

Officer Mauro said their tours will not include extensive foot patrols the way they were assigned to cover years ago. However, residents will consistently see their presence in police vehicles. Mauro also noted that he and Bridgwood have conducted foot patrols along Rockaway Parkway where merchants are concerned about robberies and being harassed by youths. They’ve also been visiting random bodegas to investigate which establishments are selling cigarettes to minors.

As they patrol, they will also be assisting the detective squad, reviewing complaints and setting up an array of operations.

“We had a rash of car thefts reported in the parking lot of the BJ’s at Foster Avenue,” said Officer Bridgwood. “Our guys set up an operation in the area, but nothing transpired as of yet in finding a perpetrator.”

One resident brought up a New York Post article published that morning (“NYPD Cops Forbidden From Breaking Up Noisy Parties,” May 10th) which alleged that cops will soon face legal challenges when handling 911 calls about loud parties - unless they are given permission. The directive came down this week and was exclusively reported in the Post, which discovered lawsuits against officers who “barged onto properties without warrants.” Officers Mauro and Bridgwood said the memo needs revising since a high percentage of shootings take place during gatherings and allowing homeowners to operate illegal house parties can have negative consequences.

Councilman Alan Maisel spoke to constituents at the gathering and said he has high hopes for the NCO program’s debut in Canarsie’s neighboring command - the 63rd Precinct. The councilman said the program is scheduled to launch in that portion of Brooklyn some time in July.

NCOs for “Sector B” in Canarsie will host a meeting on Wednesday, May 24th at Beraca Baptist Church, 9602 Flatlands Avenue, at 7 p.m. Sector B spans from the east side of East 94th Street to East 108th Street and the south side of Flatlands Avenue down to Bayview Houses.

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