45th Precinct honors cops and community members

The 45th Precinct Community Council celebrated the efforts of the precinct’s fight to reduce crime and the people who make the community a better place to live with an awards breakfast. At the Villa Barone Manor in Throggs Neck, about 300 guests attended the event honoring five officers and five community members. The Four-Five saw the biggest citywide drop in crime during 2011.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

The 45th Precinct led the city’s 76 precincts last year for the biggest percent drop in crime.

And the cops and community members who helped make it possible were honored May 9 by the precinct’s community council with an awards breakfast.

The event came as the Four-Five, geographically the largest precinct in the city, covering the east Bronx, saw its crime rate drop 11.5%, from 1,441 reports in 2010 to 1,275 in 2011, making it the safest area in the city.

Precinct Captain Russell Green credited the precinct’s partnership with community groups.

“Those are results that don’t show up in charts, statistics or percentages,” said Green.

Council president Bob Bieder and Green presented accolades to ten honorees at the gala, the first held in 20 years, at Villa Barone Manor.

Among those honored were five officers from the precinct, the largest in New York City, covering a major swath of the east Bronx.

“These men and women work long hours and are stuck at work,” said Green.

Honored were Police Officers Robert Candrea, Mario Rodriguez and Dean Cassells, and Detective John Fennell, a 25-year veteran, for closing 20 high-profile cases in 2011 ranging from robberies to murders.

“I found a home here at the 45th and will always be here,” said Fennell.

Sergeant Dennis Tierney also was applauded for taking dangerous thugs off the streets last year, as well as saving a suicidal man from jumping.

“He went without any equipment to the ledge, grabbed him and brought him back over,” said Captain Green.

The other five civilian honorees were Co-op City community activist Leonard Murrell, Frances Maturo of the Archdiocese of New York Drug Abuse Prevention Program, Thomas Leahy, and John Doyle of Senator Jeff Klein’s office.

A poignant moment came when the council presented a Special Career Service award to Community Affairs Officer Anne Marie Morrison, whose battle with cancer kept her from attending.

Her partner, Officer Miguel Caldero, accepted the award on her behalf, offering a few words on Morrison’s commitment to the the community.

“She’s always working and always knows what’s going on.”

Each honoree was also given a proclamation by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.

As a show of true support and admiration, the 45th Precinct Community Council surprised Green with a special plaque award and a minute-long standing ovation.

“I’m speechless,” said Green.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

Community members were also honored at the awards gala including community organizer Leonard Murrell.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

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