Fresh off his success in making the 49th Precinct the city’s safest, the station’s commanding officer is celebrating yet another victory.
Captain Lorenzo “Andy” Johnson was promoted to deputy inspector by top cop Ray Kelly at a ceremony at One Police Plaza.
“I was a captain for eight years,” said Johnson. “Almost from the day I was promoted to captain, I wanted to be a deputy inspector.”
Decked in his dress blue uniform, Johnson accepted his appointment surrounded by family and fellow NYPD officers.
In a spontaneous move, Johnson went to Kelly’s office for a one-on-one chat following the ceremony. The gesture was made simply to thank Kelly for recognizing his efforts.
“He was asking me about the 49th Precinct. He knew several community members,” said Johnson, emphasizing his promotion wasn’t possible without the help of his fellow officers covering Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Van Nest and Allerton.
Still, the 24-year veteran hasn’t stopped receiving personal accolades since the announcement, including one from Joe Thompson, head of the 49th Precinct Community Council.
“He’s definitely deserving of this promotion,” said Thompson. “We can count on him.”
Johnson’s formal path to a promotion began early this year after his knowledge of policing was tested before a police panel comprised of five chiefs and a civilian.
“They gave several topical questions, I had to present my ideas,” said Johnson. “Then they recommended me to deputy inspector.”
But Johnson also brings a number of good arrests since becoming a cop in 1988, gradually moving up the ladder.
He soon served in the Narcotics Division, promoted to detective, followed by sergeant at the 30th Precinct, and then lieutenant for the housing division in the south Bronx.
In 2005, he was promoted to captain of the 19th Precinct, working under Inspector James Rogers, later shifting to the Bronx Gang Unit to stomp out drug crews.
His last major drug bust went down June 2012, where his unit arrested 21 members of the “Murda Moore Gangstas,” a subgroup once operating in Mott Haven’s Moore Houses.
The same month, Johnson said goodbye to the Bronx Gang Unit and hello to the Four-Nine, relieving D.I. Kevin Nicholson.
Since then, major crime plunged 28% from the midyear point, a figure helped by Johnson’s strategy of shifting officers to more trouble spots.
The shelf life of a commanding officer within a precinct is short lived — usually just two and a half years before they are transferred elsewhere.
Johnson’s now at the midpoint of his stay at the Four-Nine, settling in a community he often compares to an extended family.
Whether he remains at the Four-Nine is up to police brass, though he emphasized he would “love to stay in the 49th Precinct.”
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383