2018-03-07 / Features

108th Pct. Community Council Meets For February

By Thomas Cogan

The 108th Police Precinct Community Council’s February meeting was another short session, comparable to January’s.  It might have lasted longer if more of the attendees had issues that called for lengthy discussion when they were given the opportunity to express them.  Before then, Commander Captain Ralph Forgione read the crime report for the previous four weeks and the year to date and announced that the Cop of the Month award would not be given because the designated recipient had had a death in her family.  He then vividly described the incident that won the officer her award, as a preview of the expected ceremony in March.  The audience-participation segment was not entirely without topics of discussion either; for two, the odor of marijuana smoke and the hazard of unleashed pit bulls.  
The 28-day crime report listed 54 index crimes, down from last month’s 78, a 30.8 percent decline.  There were no murders or rapes to report.  The three robberies marked a 76.9 percent drop from 13 in the previous report.  Felonious assaults were down by an almost equally large margin, to four from 18, a 77.8 decline.  Burglaries were down to six from nine, or minus 33.3 percent.  Grand larceny was very slightly up (2.9 percent) to 35 incidents from 34.  Grand larceny auto incidents doubled, from three to six, a 100 percent rise.  In the year to date, index crimes are down 26 percent, being 114 in number compared to 154.  All crimes are down save grand larceny, which with 66 incidents compared to 65, provided a slight, 1.5 percent rise, rise.

There were several students from the Police Academy, who will be getting some time with the precinct, with perhaps some of them ultimately assigned to it.  

The commander noticed one of them, well over six feet tall and wide-shouldered, and said he knew the guy he wanted for a bodyguard.  The recruit’s name was appropriate:  Hightower.
The officer detained from her Cop of the Month ceremony because of a death in the family had her award-winning experience described by Capt. Forgione.  He said a man came up and assaulted her one night while she was in uniform, pulling her sidearm away from her.  He took off and she gave chase.  When she caught him he hit her in the face with some object, inflicting injury but not getting free of her.  She brought him down, got the gun away from him and put handcuffs on him, then making the arrest.  The captain said she would have shown up for the award despite her facial injury but the death in the family caused her to cancel.  He said that next month she would be the sole recipient of the award.

There was trouble getting the question period started because of a general shyness among the attendees to speak.  At last, one woman said she had a nearby neighbor who owned a pit bull that was allowed out on the street unleashed.  Adding to that, there was a report that four pit bull puppies were being raised in the house, so the prospect of a whole pack of pit bulls on the street unleashed seemed quite disturbing.  One officer said he was covering the case.  The captain said if any of the dogs are seen roaming free (presumably with the owner present) the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) should be called.

Carol Terrano, who lives in Woodside at the border of the next precinct, said the question on her mind might have to do with a matter for that adjacent precinct, but being at the 108th she thought she’d ask there.  Why, she asked, has a command center of the 104th Precinct been set up on Grand Avenue and 64th Street, near an office of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank at 56-18 64th?   The captain said there had been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood lately and a special detail had been set up on Grand Avenue.  Tony Nunziata, of City Councilman Bob Holden’s office, said that many of the break-ins have been occurring in the afternoon.
One woman said she was amazed and dismayed by the strong odor of marijuana smoke that she seems to find all over the neighborhood.  She said it is particularly heavy at the 47th Street entrance of the 46th-Bliss Street station of the No. 7 elevated train line.  She asked if everyone’s smoking weed and can’t anything be done about it.  The captain said he can make arrests only if he sees a person or persons partaking of this (barely) controlled substance.
Capt. Forgione had praise for the proprietor of a local bar and grill for his attendance at every meeting of the 108th Community Council he has held since becoming commander. 

He didn’t care to name the place and called the owner only by his first name, Frank.  He said his bar is a well-run place; thus, unlike some others, it provides no civil disruption.   

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