Community leaders and residents from throughout the 49th Precinct were saddened this weekend after word was received that a new commanding officer would be replacing Captain John Greeley.
Captain Greeley, joined the precinct late in 2008, and was the fifth captain the precinct has had in a little over eight years.
“Its going to be a loss, he’s been great for our community,” said Al D’Angelo, president of the Morris Park Community Association.“He cleaned up the lower end of Morris Park and did an outstanding job.He was forthcoming in relaying information to the community and its leaders.He’s just a great guy all around.”
John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11, was furious he did not receive advanced notice of the switch from the New York Police Department, having worked closely with Greeley to eliminate drug dealers and significantly reduce crime in the Van Nest community.
“This captain was one of the best captains we’ve ever had and for [the NYPD] to take him away like they did is just outrageous,” said Fratta.“He worked with the community and crime kept going down under his command.”
Vinny Prezioso, president of the Northeast Bronx Neighborhood Association, explained that Greeley had been active in implementing programs and outreach throughout the community.
“He was the one who spearheaded my organizations block watch program.He was so community oriented, worried about our quality of life as well as the bigger crimes,” said Prezioso. “I never met as good a commanding officer as Greeley, he was always there for you when you needed him.The person coming in has big shoes to fill.”
Many were sad to see Greeley go, wishing him the best of luck, but were more disturbed by the system that seems to constantly transfer and replace C-Os.
“I’ve been involved in the 49th Precinct since it opened and Greeley was one of top commanding officers that functioned with the community board and people in the neighborhood,” said Dom Castore, chairman of CB11.“We just wish they would have told us what happened.Every time we get to know a captain, he is gone. I’m incensed they took a man who was finally doing something.”
Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council, was optimistic about the change in leadership, but expressed his frustration at the frequent switches.
“Problem is this idea of changing commanding officers every two years is insane,” said Thompson.“It takes a person more than a year to get acclimated, to learn about the community, to build trust, only to have to start all over again.”
Stepping into the role as the new 49th Precinct C-O will be Captain Kevin Nickolson, from Bronx Narcotics.Any residents who want to meet and speak with Nickolson may do so at the next 49th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, April 27 at Bronx House, 990 Pelham Parkway South, at 7:30 p.m.