COPS THANKED FOR RESPONSE
Say 106th Precinct Served Well After Storm
Community leaders offered praise to members of the 106th Precinct and others involved in the extensive response to Hurricane Sandy during the 106th Precinct Community Council meeting last Wednesday night, Nov. 14, at the command’s Ozone Park stationhouse.
“There were two agencies that responded immediately and overwhelmingly” following Sandy’s arrival, Community Board 10 Chairperson Betty Braton stated. “First was the Police Department, and second was the Department of Sanitation.”
Braton offered kudos on behalf of the entire community to Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, the 106th Precinct commanding officer, and all of the men and women assigned to the precinct for the many long hours they worked to assist storm victims and patrol flood-ravaged neighborhoods.
“Everybody in his command was out and about in the community, working long hours, many of them while their own homes were damaged,” Braton said.
Echoing those comments was Frank Dardani, president of the 106th Precinct Community Council, who noted that many of the officers worked between 12 and 14 hours a day after Sandy hit in a variety of ways.
“They had so many different things to be involved in, [from] trying to help people, clearing streets, then having to deal with the gas lines,” Dardani said. “And, on top of that, an election went on—a very big election for the president of the United States” and other offices.
Dardani particularly applauded the unit for patrolling long lines at gas stations during the post-storm fuel shortage, noting that many officers walked up and down the line, talking with drivers while working to keep things calm.
Pascale himself offered thanks to members of the New York State National Guard for helping the precinct patrol waterlogged areas of Howard Beach. He noted that at one point, the precinct could not travel south of Cross Bay Boulevard and 156th Av- enue due to flooding and fallen power lines, both of which made for a dangerous situation.
But the National Guard was able to provide the 106th Precinct with the temporary use of large “humvees” to have officers travel through the battered community on patrol, the deputy inspector noted.
“They (the 106th Precinct officers) were dying to get to work, but they couldn’t because it was a dangerous situation,” he said. “In the humvees, they were able to operate. We thank the national Guard for the couple of hours they helped us out.”
With parts of Howard Beach left in the dark for days after the storm struck the area, Pascale stated, the NYPD provided a great number of resources to patrol the community and keep the peace. Fifty additional officers, mostly from the Bronx, were assigned to the neighborhood, he added, with 25 sent to the “old” section on the eastern side and the other 25 to the “new” part of Howard Beach.
“We were getting a tremendous amount of 911 jobs for robberies and burglaries in progress, all of which were unfounded,” Pascale added, though he acknowledged that the precinct did have its share of “stormrelated crime.” Most of the incidents were break-ins at vacant homes which residents evacuated from before Sandy struck the area.
“The first couple of days, there were a lot of urban myths out there talking about how police took very serious action to mitigate crimes in progress. That was not true,” the commander added. “We did take some burglaries ... but not to the extent that was [rumored] in the community.”
The next 106th Precinct Community Council meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m. at the Ozone Park stationhouse, located at 103-53 101st St. For more information, call the 106th Precinct Community Affairs Unit at 1-718-845-2228.