Sept. 24, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The 108th Precinct, covering Long Island City, Sunnyside, and parts of Woodside and Maspeth, will soon be launching a new program that focuses on neighborhood policing, with a community meet-and-greet planned to mark the roll out.
The program, under the NYPD’s Neighborhood Policing Plan, will divide the precinct into four sectors, where the same officers and personnel will work day in and day out–to increase police and community connectivity.
The highlight of the program rests in the Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCO’s. Two of these officers, who act as liaisons between the police and the community, will be assigned to each sector.
Sergeant Hugo Arica, NCO supervisor for the 108th Precinct, said the NCOs will be the boots on the ground that will be crime-fighting and problem-solving. The goal, he said, is for officers to familiarize themselves not just with persistent and new issues, but with families, businesses, schools, and people who regularly commute through. Regular meetings with the community will be planned every three months within each sector.
“We want officers to be familiar with everyone within their sectors,” Arica said.
The four sectors, fully staffed with radio dispatchers, supervisors and sector officers, along with NCOs, follow what are generally considered to be neighborhood parameters.
Long Island City west of Sunnyside Yard makes up Sector A, while the adjacent Sector B goes east of the yard up until 43rd Street, thereby making up parts of Long Island City, Blissville and Sunnyside.
The remaining two sectors are divided east of 43rd Street across Queens Boulevard, with Sector C serving parts of Woodside and Sunnyside and Sector D, to the south, covering parts of Maspeth and Woodside.
By breaking up the precinct into sectors, the NYPD is hoping to make it easier for police to respond to neighborhood-specific crime and conditions, rather than the prior model that had separate officers responding to separate cases on a precinct-wide basis.
“We’re always going to have the same officers assigned there,” Arica said.
Traffic, for instance, is one of the areas the 108th Precinct receives the most complaints for. Under the NCO program, a possible scenario can play out where an NCO can execute a creative and adaptive technique to address a problem area, like a problematic intersection, by talking to motorists, cyclists, or coordinating with the DOT.
NCOs, moreover, are receiving additional training to be able to respond to calls more thoroughly. The training is partly a refresher for officers, but also provides instruction on how to do preliminary investigative work.
“Some of the training that they’re getting is like what detectives pretty much get,” Arica said.
The training, in turn, makes for a precinct working more collaboratively to solve crime and quality-of-life problems.
Precincts around the city began rolling out the program in 2015, with the 108th Precinct as one of the last to implement it and a start date set for Oct 1.
Residents can figure out what sector they’re in ahead of time and who their NCOs are by using the 108th Precinct’s online map or contacting the precinct.
The precinct has planned an event on the same day of the roll out for the community to learn about the program, meet with NCOs and find out how to best work in partnership with them.
The 108th Precinct Neighborhood Policing meet and greet will take place on Oct. 1 at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St., at 7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but RSVP is encouraged by the end of this week to:
Detective Marcos Torres
Police Officer Luis Diaz