The 49th Precinct community welcomed its new commanding officer at a recent meeting of its precinct council.
Captain Thomas Alps, who was jettisoned into the job at the four-nine 11 days ago, addressed a large group of local leaders at his first 49th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, November 29 at the Morris Park Community Association.
Separately, Alps answered questions from the Bronx Times Reporter on his police force experience and policing philosophy.
The new commanding officer got his start with the NYPD in 2000, working as a police officer in the 52nd Precinct before being promoted five years later to sergeant and going to work in Manhattan, he stated.
Later, he returned to the borough at the 43rd Precinct as a lieutenant, and as the executive officer of the 40th and 41st precincts.
Key to his experience is his work in the NYPD Intelligence Division and Counter Terrorism Bureau, which he said began in 2010 and lasted four and half years.
“My philosophy has long been intelligence-based policing,” stated Alps. “So in listening to the community and their issues we will be able to not only address the issues they have but utilize their assistance in solving crimes.”
Alps stated that his previous experience involved intelligence-led policing, analyzing crimes and complaints, intelligence reports, 9-1-1 calls and soliciting information from the community.
“With this experience I hope to deploy our resources and address the problems plaguing the community,” he stated.
Alps said at the meeting that his top priorities are the people under his command and keeping them safe, but also said that the community is not second to this effort.
He acknowledged the consequences that policing has on lives at the council meeting and stressed the importance and need for law enforcement.
The new commanding officer stated that he had already met or was planning to meet with elected officials and community partners, including Jeremy Warneke, Community Board 11 district manager.
“My overall message to them is that police are exceptional people that deserve to be honored and respected. My responsibility is to the support them and keep them safe by way of training and equipment, once they are safe and well equipped then can more effectively do their job professionally in keeping others safe.”
The 49th Precinct Council president, Joe Thompson, said that he had meet with the captain.
Alps is planning on utilizing neighborhood coordinating officers to gather intelligence in housing developments including Eastchester Gardens and Parkside Houses among other areas, in the precinct where crime was concentrated and it appeared that this approach had worked.
Both Thompson and the captain confirmed this.
“He is pretty much informed as to where the tough spots are,” said Thompson of Alps. “He does want to make an impression in the housing developments (with) neighborhood policing.”
Thompson said Alps appears to have a friendly personality.
At the meeting, the captain told the crowd that cops want to “be your hero” and to be liked.
The new commanding officer abruptly replaced the 49th Precinct’s last commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Keith Walton.
Walton is facing criminal charges and was relieved of his command.