The 45th Precinct has a new commanding officer.
Captain Thomas Fraser, a veteran of nearly 18 years in the NYPD, assumed command of the east Bronx precinct on Wednesday, January 23.
The new CO is accepting his first assignment at the helm of a precinct, but has held a wide variety of positions during his NYPD career.
He replaces Deputy Inspector Carlos Ghonz, who was transferred to the 42nd Precinct in Morrisania as its commander.
Fraser said he is currently in the process of meeting with community leaders, as well as elected officials.
Fraser told the Bronx Times that his previous assignment was Bronx Narcotics, where he was for more than two years and where he said he learned a great deal about investigative police work.
The captain said he was impressed with how well the police and community get along in the precinct.
“One of the positive aspects of the 45th Precinct is that there is strong police-community relations,” said Fraser. “I am sure that Inspector Ghonz and the police officers have already built strong relationships.”
In terms of crime fighting, one of the areas the captain plans on focusing on is Grand Larceny, particularly from retail locations, he said, adding for example that $40,000 worth of merchandise was shoplifted from one location over the past week.
“Keeping people safe is the number one priority, but I be will tackling the larceny issue with the greatest of efforts,” said Fraser.
Fraser said that his philosophy of policing comes down to focusing on the ‘front line’ police officers, who are building relationships with the community and fighting crime.
The captain added that he would use every technological advantage available.
This includes the use of social media as both a means of disseminating information to the public and as a way of gathering information, he said, adding that facial recognition software has also grown in effectiveness and is a useful crime-fighting tool.
“I plan on utilizing the latest technology to prevent crime and improve the quality of life for the people of the 45th Precinct,” said Fraser.
Fraser was in the police academy when the September 11th attacks took place, he said, adding that he was part of a police academy class that spent months directing traffic and performing other support tasks near Ground Zero, and that the experience had a last effect on him.
Fraser said he spent his first five and a half years in the NYPD as a patrol cop in Staten Island’s 120th Precinct, along its northern shore.
When he was promoted to sergeant, he spent six years in Brooklyn housing projects, he said.
Then came a stint as platoon commander in 71st Precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he performed many personnel and administrative tasks, he said.
He was also part of a NYPD School Safety task force that supplemented the work of school safety officers and built relationships with administrators and students.
Fraser, who grew up in New Jersey, said that he is a big Seattle Seahawks fan, a love affair that began when he lived in Washington for five years during his youth when his father’s work took him there, he said.
He is a graduate of FBI National Academy for law enforcement professionals in Virginia.