Tag Archives: Joseph Esposito

Queens cops among police union’s ‘Finest of the Finest’

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

A Rockaway officer who gave his life rescuing fire victims in Brooklyn and two cops who stopped a hatchet-wielding attacker in Jamaica were among those saluted for bravery during the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s (PBA) Finest of the Finest award ceremony Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.

The PBA presented posthumous honors to the family of P.O. Dennis Guerra, a resident of Bayswater who died while attempting to make a rescue during an April 2014 arson fire at a Coney Island apartment house. Guerra’s partner, P.O. Rosa Rodriguez, accepted the award on his behalf.

“We are deeply saddened that Police Officer Dennis Guerra did not live to receive this honor in person but we are honored to have his family here today on his behalf,” said PBA President Patrick J. Lynch. “Those being honored today intervened in deadly crimes, saved the lives of adults and babies and put themselves in deadly situations to keep others safe.”

Police Officers Taylor Kraft and Peter Rivera of the 103rd Precinct were also recognized for stopping a lone-wolf terrorist who attacked fellow Police Officers Kenneth Healey and Joseph Meeker with a hatchet in Jamaica last October.

The four officers were posing for a photographer on Jamaica Avenue on the afternoon of Oct. 23, 2014, when the assailant — Zale Thompson, who was later found to have terrorist ties — approached the officers while carrying a hatchet. Thompson struck Healey in the head, causing critical injuries, and Meeker in the arm.

Kraft and Rivera drew their firearms and fired 11 shots, killing Thompson. Healey and Meeker, both of whom survived their injuries, will also be honored at the PBA event.

Other officers honored at the PBA ceremony on Thursday include the following:

  • P.O. Joseph Esposito of the 114th Precinct, who confronted a suicidal, shotgun-wielding murder suspect — Jack Calvello, 86 — who killed his daughter at their Astoria home in April 2014. Esposito fatally shot Calvello after the suspect pointed the weapon at officers and refused to drop it.
  • Police Officers William Neville and David Hudson of the 101st Precinct, who stopped a gun-toting criminal who pointed his weapon at officers during a pursuit inside a Rockaway apartment building.


Queens officer Philip Banks named as NYPD’s new Chief of Department

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Queens officer has risen in the ranks of the NYPD, and has found himself at the very top.

Philip Banks of St. Albans was appointed as the Police Department’s new Chief of Department. The 26-year veteran and current Chief of Community Affairs was officially installed as the NYPD’s highest ranking uniformed officer at a promotion ceremony on Thursday, March 28 at police headquarters, following the retirement of former Chief Joseph Esposito.

“Banks has proven himself time and time again to be as outstanding a field commander, adept in managing police personnel and operations, as he has a consummate builder of community relations,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Kelly also noted that programs such as the New-Immigrant Outreach and Crime Prevention as well as School Safety and Juvenile Justice Divisions have flourished under Banks’ command. As Chief of Department, Banks will be responsible for all police operations.

Banks became a member of the NYPD in 1986, and began his career on patrol in the 81st Precinct. He rose in the ranks from sergeant all the way to assistant chief over the course of two decades, and has served in precincts in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In 2010, Banks was appointed Chief of Community Affairs. Before his appointment, he served as Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan North and also commanded the 79th, 81st and Central Park Precincts. He also served as Executive Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South and of the 73rd Precinct.

Before beginning his police career, Banks received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Lincoln University. He graduated in 2001 from the Police Management Institution at Columbia University, and also completed advanced management training as well as an executive leaders program in counterterrorism at the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

As a member of the NYPD, Banks is following in the footsteps of his father, who is a retired lieutenant. His positions included co-director of the Police Commissioner’s security detail, executive officer in the Bias Crime Unit and commanding officer of the Recruitment Section.