Bronx resident Thomas Troppmann, an NYPD detective, is working to improve relations between police officers and those they protect. His commitment to bettering those relations won him the Sloan Public Service Award.
“It was one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Troppmann who admitted he’s “not a big award person” or extremely into receiving gifts.
The public service award came with a $10,000 prize.
Troppmann donated the money to the Michael Buczek Foundation, which runs a little league founded in memory of a 24-year-old cop who was killed in 1988.
Troppmann, a Kingsbridge resident, has been a detective in the NYPD for eight years and has lived in the Bronx for the past three years.
A large part of Troppman’s recognition comes from his time as a member of the Neighborhood Coordinator Officers program.
According to Troppmann, the program – which began on May 18, 2015 – encourages officers to become more in tune and aware of what’s going on in the communities that they police.
“Over the years I’ve been building relationships with people and this is what the community is geared towards so this was a natural fit for me,” said Troppmann, who was responsible for the Washington Heights area.
As part of the program the detective said members of the department were assigned a neighborhood for which they would be responsible.
Troppmann was apart of the group assigned to Washington Heights.
Police officers were to address any crime or quality of life issues within that community.
Troppmann said the NCR program hinges on a community member’s ability to reach officers directly to either ask for help or provide information on ongoing crimes.
He acknowledged that trust between officers and residents plays a huge part in the program.
“I’m amazed how fast the trust is building,” said Troppmann.
He said before the program he “would speak to people and I was at the mercy of when I had the time to speak because of other responsibilities.”
Troppmann said now he has been given more time and opportunities to be accessible to residents.
The detective said he and other members of the program have attended community board meetings.
He recalled one meeting at which the NYPD was explaining what the NCR program would look like.
Troppmann remembered a question he received from a young boy at the meeting, “‘If we see the police on the corner are we allowed to say ‘hi’ to them?’”
The detective said he was taken aback by the question and said “it was embarrassing” that police are viewed as unapproachable.
He added, “No one wants that perception.”
However, Troppmann believes that because of the program residents have become more welcoming to the police within the community.