Tag Archives: cops of the month

Cops honored for busting alleged car thief

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Two officers from the 111th Precinct were feted Tuesday night for arresting a man who police say is responsible for a surge in area car thefts. 

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta honored officers Frederick Omodie and Alan Reid for their persistence that led to the Jan. 14 collar of a perp tied to 14 other crimes in the area, including six car thefts.

Police believe the man went car to car, pulling on door handles and searching glove compartments for keys, before driving off.

“Due to the awareness of local crime trends, intelligence, diligence and relentless follow-up, Officers Omodie and Reid were able to apprehend an elusive criminal, who would have stolen many more vehicles and property from the residents of the 111th Precinct,” Huerta said.

The two made the arrest during an overnight shift, after sifting through leads and asking for stolen car reports.

They searched around 222nd Street and found the suspect driving a reported stolen car with its headlights off. The car was later returned to its owner.

“These two officers are known for their hard work and dedication,” Huerta said. “They are an asset to the 111th Precinct and to the community.”



111th Precinct bids adieu to beloved community affairs officer

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

For 10 years, Community Affairs Officer Gary Poggiali has watched 120 officers accept their “Cops of the Month” awards from the back of the room.

Now he has plenty of plaques to call his own.

Community leaders gave a final salute to the retiring, beloved cop with an armful of plaques and an earful of praises at a farewell party on December 3.

“Gary is one of the good guys,” said Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece. “He deals with us and all the issues in the community, and he does it with humor. He does it with pride, and he does it really well.”

Poggiali has served close to 20 years with the NYPD. After one year in the police academy, he spent five years with the 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, three working patrol for the 111th Precinct and then a decade in community affairs.

“I know this community better than the community I grew up in,” Poggiali said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here.

It’s just another page. My mother used to say, ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’”

The precinct’s Community Council and a number of elected officials thanked him for his service, while poking jabs at him for “always eating.”

“No matter what, Gary was always there for us, always friendly, always went the extra mile to help our office out,” said Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.

Community Council President Jack Fried credited the affable Poggiali for the success of the precinct’s annual National Night Out Against Crime.

“If it [weren’t] for Gary, they wouldn’t be half as big as they were,” Fried said. “Gary really put everything into it.”
Poggiali, 50, plans to move and work security jobs down south in March. The new father welcomed his son Ryan to the world about two months ago.

His last day with the NYPD is in mid-February.

“This was a big piece of my life,” Poggiali said.

“I’ll look back and tell my kids stories of how I ran the neighborhood, how I was the commanding officer,” he joked.



Cops honored for collaring car break-in thief

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Four cops in the 111th Precinct were awarded recently for arresting a repeat car break-in offender.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta honored police officers Michael Cillis, Christopher Vernam, Romeo Francis and Sgt. Scott Brenes as “Cops of the Month” for their collar during the precinct’s monthly meeting on November 12.

“These guys have been working hard, night and day, working very late hours,” Huerta said. “It pays off every once in a while. This is one of those instances.”

The precinct’s four anti-crime unit officers arrested a white male in his 20s on October 22 around midnight. The suspect, police said, allegedly broke into a 2013 Honda that was parked in a residential driveway and stole a wallet inside.

He was charged with grand larceny, unlawful possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Huerta said he was a known vehicle break-in recidivist.

“It’s a very tough job to apprehend anyone breaking into a car. It’s a job that takes a lot of effort, a lot of expertise,” Huerta said.

The precinct’s commanding officer praised the feted cops for their “quick thinking, intelligent police work and diligence.”

“[These are] the guys that are driving out there in unmarked cars and in plain clothes,” Huerta said.

“They’re working into all hours of the morning, staking out very quiet areas.”

Coupled with an uptick in car break-ins, grand larceny numbers have been “climbing expeditiously,” according to the precinct.

Honda Accords are also being targeted in tire and rim thefts, Huerta said, with 17 incidents in just a month.

The 111th Precinct is up 6 percent in crime for the year, but four new officers joined their ranks last week.

“We could always use more, but we can do the job,” Huerta said. “We’re not struggling for manpower here.”



Cops feted for robbery arrest

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Jamaica Rotary held its monthly meeting to honor the precincts’ Cops of the Month for going above and beyond the call of duty.

“It’s great police work,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Kevin Ward, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South. “They had to work hard at it, but that’s what good police work is about.”

“There really is no luck. We put ourselves in that position by analyzing data. You put yourself in the position to get lucky,” he continued.

Inspector Charles McEvoy, the 103rd Precinct’s Commanding Officer, recognized two of his men, Sergeant Anzelmo Giovannniello and Officer Michael Desetto, for their exceptional work over the past few months.

The precinct had records of four gunpoint robberies within an area off of Liberty Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway, committed by a young male armed with a silver revolver. Each time, the suspect took a victim’s phone and a small amount of money.

On September 10, the two officers witnessed a young male standing by himself. They knew not to spook him, so Giovannniello walked away from the patrol car, and Desetto pulled up to the suspect. He pulled out the silver revolver, fled the scene and ran right into Giovannniello.

After apprehending the suspect, cops found the suspect, a 19-year-old male, was responsible for five incidents, and “undoubtedly there would have been a number six,” McEvoy said, and the two officers closed out the five robberies in one fell swoop.

“That’s what this city’s about and what the police department is about,” Ward said.




Cops who arrested pair in car thefts honored

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Erica Camhi

Two officers were honored at the most recent 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting in Richmond Hill.

Captain Martin Briffa announced officers Kevin Warmhold and Kenneth Vencak as Cops of the Month during the Precinct Council’s monthly meeting on January 17.

Briffa — executive officer of the 102nd Precinct — said the pair was feted for arresting two individuals who attempted to make off with a stolen van.

On January 3, at around 11 p.m., Briffa said the two officers saw a male and female acting suspiciously on Atlantic Avenue. According to Briffa, the suspects removed a license plate from a Ford van, switched it with another plate and drove off in the stolen van.

Upon pursuit, Warmhold and Vencak were able to nab the criminals after a few blocks.

The male perp was later found to have 13 prior arrests — all for stealing cars — while the arrested female had three. The license plate in their possession, according to police, was also from another vehicle the pair stole.

According to Community Council President Maria Thomson, arrests like these have led to the success of the precinct and safety of the community. In fact, the 102nd Precinct was chosen as the 22nd safest precinct in the city, she said.

“We really are doing very well here,” she said, “I know — and you know — that our police officers, our captain, our lieutenants and our sergeants are working very, very hard.”

But because of their success, the 102nd Precinct did not get any new police officers from the latest graduating academy class — which was one concern raised by a resident.

“Because of the fact that we’re doing so well with statistics, we are being penalized,” Thomson said. “That is not fair.”

Thomson urged residents and local elected officials to write a letter to the police commissioner or mayor asking for more officers for the precinct.

Another resident raised concerns about three burglaries that allegedly took place on 127th Street during Christmas week, but Briffa assured there were “no pattern robberies right now.” However, Briffa encouraged homeowners to check their front door locks because most burglaries, he said, occur because front doors are not locked properly.

The majority of complaints stemmed from incensed residents living on Park Lane South, who say a nearby house has been drawing in a slew of unwanted activity after the building was foreclosed on by the bank in 2009.

According to residents, “squatters” have been living there, congregating, screaming and causing trouble inside. Residents also allege that there is drug and alcohol abuse inside the house, and one neighbor said he often smells marijuana coming from the home when he opens his window.

Although the captain said he can’t do anything about the squatters, he said if there is illegal drug use, he can try and get them locked up.

Meanwhile, he said neighboring residents should call the precinct to come out and investigate if they notice illegal activity.

Additional reporting by Erica Camhi

111th Precinct announces decrease in crime

| brennison@queenscourier.com

The 111th Precinct held its council meeting recently in Bayside, updating residents on recent crime stats, answering questions from the community and honoring two officers as Cops of the Month.

For their work thwarting a robbery pattern consisting of 13 thefts, Patrick Hughes and Evan Ostrofsky were honored by Commanding Officer Ronald Leyson and Precinct Council Vice President John Bisbano as the September Cops of the Month.

Leyson announced the Precinct has seen an 8 percent decrease in crime over the past year, which is among the best in the city.  Robbery and rape are the only crimes that have seen an increase since 2010. Over the last 28-day period, crime is down almost one-third in the precinct.

To help combat small electronic robbery – especially in and around area high schools – the 111th Precinct has undertaken a six-week initiative visiting schools and educating students.

Community Affairs officers have been handing out two flyers. One gives tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of small electronic theft, and the second informs kids of the penalties involved with these thefts, which is a felony and can carry up to seven years in jail.

Also announced at the meeting was the Precinct’s coat drive and canned food drive which begins on November 15.  Any lightly used coats or non-perishable foods can be dropped off at the precinct and will be distributed to those who need it most.