It’s been a year since the Neighborhood Coordination Officer program, a citywide initiative, launched in the 49th Precinct, and community interest appears strong.
The program, which dedicates two police officers doing enforcement in direct communication with citizens in their sector, began in the precinct in January 2018, and has proven itself many times over, multiple sources told the Bronx Times.
The Morris Park Community Association is inviting residents from Morris Park and Van Nest, Sector A in the 49th Precinct, to a ‘Build the Block’ meeting with their NCO officers on Tuesday, February 12.
The meeting takes place at the MPCA at 1824 Bronxdale Avenue. Doors will open for refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Ostacio ‘Lefty’ Negron, coordinator of the MPCA community patrol, which operates most evenings and on Wednesdays during the day, said that he encourages the public to come to the meeting and contribute their input to police officers.
“This is an opportunity to tell the police directly about crime-related issues you have in your communities so that the police officers can find ways to fix the situation,” said Negron.
Detective Jay Sturdivant, of the 49th Precinct Community Affairs office, said that the two police officers assigned for the past year to Sector A were promoted, with Police Officer Janine Varela now a detective assigned to the 49th Precinct squad.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Sturdivant, adding that with three years on the job, Varela’s NYPD career is taking off like a rocket.
The other police officer Danny Cannova, was promoted to detective and will be working in narcotics control, said Sturdivant.
The two new NCOs for the precinct’s Sector A meeting with the public on February 12 are police officers Angel Cruz and Patrick Nicewicz, said the community affairs detective.
Their NCO position is different than the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau in that the police officers‘ role is in enforcement, explained the detective.
Sturdivant said that as the community affairs and commanding officers attend meetings throughout the community, they receive positive feedback about the program.
“I am being honest and transparent when I say that I love the program,” said Sturdivant.
The NCOs often exchange emails, phone numbers and business cards with community members, said Negron. They also hold periodical Build The Block community meetings.
This meeting is also a good opportunity to learn more about the MPCA patrol and see if you would be a good fit for it, said Negron.
The president of the MPCA, Al D’Angelo, said that the association’s patrol doesn’t directly get involved in apprehensions. It relays anything they may come across to police, he said.
“The more people in the patrol, the easier it is for the community,” said D’Angelo, adding that typically community members feel safer when the patrol is around and that volunteers only need to devote a couple of hours a week to it.
D’Angelo said he though the NCOs serve the community well.
Silvio Mazzella, a 49th Precinct Community Council board member, said he has received positive feedback about the precinct’s NCOs.