2018-02-07 / Front Page

108th Pct. Community Council Meets For First Time In '18

By Thomas Cogan

Last week, Commander Captain Ralph Forgione had attendees in and out of January’s meeting of the 108th Police Precinct Community Council in about 40 minutes, despite the fact that the January meeting had not one but two months’ worth of news, it was briskly dispatched.  The audience was relatively small, the night’s temperature being low and getting lower, so when the commander brought the meeting to a close they departed quickly,  to hurry through an chilly journey home, 

Before the meeting began, four Cop of the Month plaques were on display on the table at Sunnyside Community Services and were soon awarded to their rightful recipients.  However, a dozen or so framed certificates from the police to local businesses, also on the table, were not awarded; not for the moment anyway.   They are addressed to particular businesses (Woodside Pizza Boy, etc.) and also bear the name of the 108th and the motto, “We Try for Blue Sky.”  Many certificates have yet to be framed and probably distribution of all of them will have to wait until they are.

The four plaques went to two pairs of officers for cases resolved in October and November, though the latter case had been around since the spring of 2016.  Since it was a murder, committed a few months before the captain came to the 108th Precinct, he took a great interest in bringing it to a conclusion. The murder was committed in Woodside, at the corner of 67th Street and 47th Avenue, just after 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2016.  He assigned two detectives, Keith D’Souza and Victor Kasillo, to the case in early 2017.  He had an identification of the suspect, a gang member who was at large.  A tip concerning his whereabouts led the detectives to him, and he was brought in soon after Thanksgiving, on Sunday, November 26.

The other two plaques went to Patrol Officers Kristy Massaro and Dominic Ruggiero, who in early October were sent on evening patrol to check out an area of the precinct where a violent incident seemed impending.  The two officers spotted and followed a figure familiar to the police, who led them into the 104th Precinct. They closed in on him in the early morning of October 6, making the arrest at 4 a.m.  He was carrying a pistol in his belt.  This was evidently gang-related too, as the suspect was believed to be looking for someone he was intent on shooting, having tried unsuccessfully to shoot him a year earlier. 

Capt. Forgione had a year-end report and one for the first four weeks in January.  He said he was proud of his effort to cut domestic violence offenses in  the precinct, the declining number of incidents being indicative of success. Also, burglaries were occurring with durable frequency in early 2017 and were the topic of great concern to local residents.  He said that special attention to them brought the number of incidents down as the year went on.  There were no murders recorded in the precinct for 2017 and, as described above, the captain even managed to close a murder case from 2016, when he was not precinct commander.  He said he checked records and found that from the mid-1990s until last year, there were on average three murders per year in the precinct. He announced that in 2017, the 108th led the entire city in the number of index arrests.  He said he put in for an award for that and is awaiting further news on the request.

Patrol Officer Robert Mills, head of the precinct’s auxiliary police force, said he has 30 members right now and that is quite low.  Still, in his short time as its commander he has raised the number from 23 and intends to get it above 100, as it has sometimes been in past times.


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