2015-04-08 / Front Page

108th Pct. Holds March Meeting, Discusses Crime Issues

BY THOMAS COGAN

The 108th Police Precinct Community Council held its March meeting on the last day of the month, welcoming a woman from the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, who talked about Family Justice Centers.  Also welcomed was Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s representative, who reminded everybody about the Participatory Economy elections, which are being held April 11-19.  Commander Captain John Travaglia made his crime report, announced the revival of Community Fridays and presented the Cop of the Month.

Patrol Officer John Miszuk was the Cop of the Month, having won the award for his handling of an incident occurring early Saturday morning, March 21.  At about 2:30 that morning, a man phoned 911 to report that he had just been robbed at knifepoint (evidently the thief was neglectful enough that he failed to take the victim’s phone away).  When the call was transferred to Capt. Travaglia himself, the captain was talking to the victim when a report came in from P.O. Miszruk that he had apprehended someone who didn’t seem the rightful owner of some of the things he carried.  He and the person who had assailed the victim were ultimately identified as one and the same.

The woman from the mayor’s office, Marissa Beckett, works at the Family Justice Center in its Queens office, 126-02 82nd Rd., Kew Gardens, where the offices of District Attorney Richard Brown are located.  The Queens FJC, in operation since 2008, is a walk-in facility for those with complaints about domestic violence, elder abuse and sex trafficking.  Case management, legal information and prosecution, self-sufficiency service and a place for the care of children are among the provisions offered.  In addition, a unit called the Healthy Relationship Training Academy goes into schools to inform student and teachers about such matters as bullying and date violence.  When Pat Dorfman of the community council asked for a definition of domestic violence, discussion in the audience concluded that it was based on power and control, whether physical or psychological.

Capt. Travaglia said that at a time when the general crime rate in the precinct keeps declining, it’s “fun” to be the commander.  The drop-off rate for the previous four weeks was 28 percent and for the year so far, 29 percent.  There were no murders or rapes in the previous four weeks and burglaries were down slightly while grand larceny auto was up slightly.  Traffic injuries are down 6 percent for the year thus far.  He again announced his concern for the cold case of Lou Rispolli, a social activist attacked and bludgeoned fatally in October 2012 on 43rd Avenue near 40th Street.  He said he seeks information, adding that he believes there are those in Sunnyside and Woodside who have it to impart.

Questions or observations from the audience began with Doris Nowillo Suda, who said she lives near 21-03 45th Road, where, she also said, drugs are sold out in the opening, with no attempt to conceal the trade.  Teenagers freely buy marijuana and take it across 21st Street to smoke it in Murray Playground, she added.  Another person not pleased with the situation outside his door was Carlos Suarez, who lives on 35th Place near 47th Avenue.  He said that teenagers, apparently from Long Island City Vocational High School, hang out by his house and curse him when he protests their unwelcome presence.  He said he talked to Community Affairs Officer Carlos Torres about it and Torres immediately informed Capt. Travaglia.  The commander said he would address the issue, especially since it might have involved entering residential buildings, Suarez’s included.

Community Fridays, involving police, auxiliaries and citizens in such projects as graffiti removal and other local improvements, had been a going thing under Captain Brian Hennessey, the former commander.  Now, after being trapped by winter snow and ice, Community Fridays can be revived.  Capt. Travaglia said the community has shown great interest in the program, so it will be re-inaugurated Friday, April 17 and should continue on Fridays to follow.

Amanda Nasner from City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office announced that the Participatory Economy elections are being held in various sites throughout the district between Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 19—including the councilman’s local office at 47-01 Queens Blvd., Suite 205, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday April 13 to Friday, April 17.  There are 27 issues on the ballot and the most voted-upon ones will benefit from the $1 million that is being allotted to them.

 

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