2015-04-22 / Front Page

UCCA Holds Meeting On ‘Law And Order’

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

When the officers began to discuss the topic of the homeless shelter at the Westway Motel, one person in attendance shouted out, “Stop (expletive) us. You don’t want the truth to come out. I live there [in the neighborhood]” Photo Jason D. Antos When the officers began to discuss the topic of the homeless shelter at the Westway Motel, one person in attendance shouted out, “Stop (expletive) us. You don’t want the truth to come out. I live there [in the neighborhood]” Photo Jason D. Antos A public forum, “Law and Order, Disorder and Justice…Well Served?” covered a range of issues from quality of life crime to murder and the death penalty.

The Honorable Supreme Court Justices Gregory L. Lasak and Michael B. Aloise and Commanding Officers Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney and Captain Brian Hennessy of the 114th and 115th Precincts, respectively, were speakers at the event hosted by the United Civic Community Association (UCCA) on April 16 at the Bulova Corporate Center in East Elmhurst.

“This is a critical and sometimes uncomfortable issue affecting our [UCCA] membership and the greater community at large,” said UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo.

Presiding at the 11th Judicial District – Criminal Term for Queens County, Justices Lasak and Aloise responded to the question posed by Poveromo, “are the bad old days of the ‘80s back?”

“You only hear about the chaos,” said Justice Aloise. “I’m here to tell you crime is being prosecuted and things are under control.”

Reflecting on his 25 years of service in the Queens District Attorney’s office, Justice Lasak commented on the impact of the drug trade on murders in the borough over the last 40 years.

“[The introduction of] crack cocaine in 1985 caused the murder rate to soar,” he said peaking at 361 homicides in 1992. “The majority of homicides then were drugrelated.”

With federal assistance from the FBI and DEA, NYPD struck back hard at the drug dealers, 
The panel at the United Community Civic Association’s (UCCA) meeting included (l. to r.); 115th Pct. Commanding Officer Captain Brian Hennessy, 114th Pct. Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, the Honorable Supreme Court Justices Gregory L. Lasak and Michael B. Aloise, and UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo. 
Photo Jason D. Antos The panel at the United Community Civic Association’s (UCCA) meeting included (l. to r.); 115th Pct. Commanding Officer Captain Brian Hennessy, 114th Pct. Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, the Honorable Supreme Court Justices Gregory L. Lasak and Michael B. Aloise, and UCCA President Rose Marie Poveromo. Photo Jason D. Antos Lasak recounted. By 2001 murders dropped under 100 in Queens County and have never gone over since.

Expressing her personal support for the death penalty, Poveromo said, “I believe in the death penalty and you guys [Aloise and Lasak] don’t.”

“We enforce the law, we don’t interpret the law,” said Lasak. “Whatever the law is Michael [Aloise] and I will abide by it,” he said. “Our personal opinions don’t matter.”

Capital punishment was abolished in 2007 in New York State.

Concerning the Westway Hotel, Inspector Maloney acknowledged Westway changed “the dynamic of the community” but added, “We haven’t seen any severe spike in major crimes.”

A resident living near the Westway asked about seven auto break-ins and a gunpoint robbery at PS 2. “We are afraid to walk at night,” she said.

When Maloney said there had been misinformation, a person in attendance shouted out, “Stop (expletive) us. You don’t want the truth to come out. I live there.”

“These people are here as our guests,” said Poveromo. “They know we have a problem in our community. What concerns us is that the weather is getting warmer,” she said, asking Maloney if a police officer could be assigned to the Westway.

“We don’t put an officer at that particular location,” said the inspector adding that the robbery at PS 2 didn’t involve the Westway. Asked about a February report of a sexual offender living at Westway, Maloney said the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has removed the person.

“There are quality of life issues, certainly,” conceded Maloney. “I don’t want to minimize your concerns,” he said, maintaining reported crimes are not “out of control.”

“We do want to work with you,” said another resident. “But you cannot tell us you haven’t seen a rise in the crime rate in one year,” she said. “Our lives have changed in one year.”

The Westway was converted to a permanent shelter for more than 100 homeless families last July.

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