BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Efforts to track down a missing Glendale student and honors for a graffiti-fighting cop were highlighted during Thursday’s meeting of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP) at St. Pancras Pfeifer Hall in Glendale.
Capt. Gregory Mackie, 104th Precinct executive officer, commended the civilian patrol for their help in the search for 12-year-old Kwan Williams, a student at P.S. 113 in Glendale, who went missing after school on May 11. After an extensive precinct-wide search, Williams was eventually found safe at his father’s home in Manhattan.
As part of the effort, the 104COP mobilized 13 patrol cars in the search for Williams. Units searched local parking lots and parks, including Juniper Park, Mafera Park and the Forest Park Bandshell and surrounding areas.
In addition to the diligence of the patrols, 104COP members also credited social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter with helping to spread the word about the missing boy. According to Mark Pearson, 104COP first vice president, the missing persons flyer was posted and tweeted to all of the local civic groups social media pages. It was shared an estimated 350 times online, and reportedly reached 35,000 people.
“It was a great showing of community,” Pearson said.
P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit commended the use of social media in the search for Williams. “Let’s take advantage of the outlet we have and use it for something good,” he said.
Frank Kotnik, 104COP president, expressed pride over the effort and the search’s success.
“We’re out there and we’re looking to help,” Kotnik said. “It’s a good feeling that we had a purpose.”
The patrol also honored P.O. Justin Dambinskas of the Citywide Vandals Task Force, who was previously the 104th Precinct graffiti coordinator.
“He was one of the best graffiti coordinators in our precinct,” Kotnik said, adding that there were over 450 vandalism arrests and 2,500 sites painted and cleaned on Dambinskas’ watch.
Dambinskas credits the local judiciary system and the keen eyes of the community with helping win the war against graffiti.
“The District Attorney and prosecution in this neighborhood is the best I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “We’ve got people jail time and restitution. People are afraid to actually tag in Queens because of what happens.”
Dambinskas also thanked community and civic groups such as G-COP for contributing to the success of the precinct’s anti-graffiti operations.
“We got involved because graffiti was out of hand back in the day,” Kotnik said.
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