A local police precinct celebrated an important milestone last week.
Thursday, January 8 marked the 30th anniversary of the opening of the 49th Precinct on Eastchester Road.
The anniversary celebration at the station house was attended by Police Commissioner William Bratton, the precinct’s past commanding officers, police officers and community leaders.
The Four-Nine was founded in 1985 after a strong push from community leaders to provide Community Board 11 with a precinct. Previously, the 43rd Precinct covered the southern part of the board up to Pelham Parkway, while the 47th Precinct was responsible for the area north of Pelham Parkway.
This created communication problems while trying to police the board, said long-time board member Joe Reda, who was instrumental in the precinct’s development.
Reda and former board chair Dom Castore, who headed up the Morris Park Association at the time, wanted to know why the board didn’t have its own precinct like other community boards in the city.
They, along with other local politicians, community and union leaders, pushed for meetings with the police commissioner to get the precinct.
Then came the issue of finding a site for the station house, which they sought to put in the middle of the community board. The project was brought to the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation, and a parcel from the Jacobi Hospital property was acquired for the development.
The first proposed site was on the corner of Pelham Parkway and Eastchester Road, but advocates including Reda thought it would takeaway from the beauty of the parkway, leading to the choice of the current site at 2121 Eastchester Road.
Overall, the process took at least two years, said Reda.
“It took a lot of hard work and meetings.”
But all that effort and time was worth it, and the community was very happy to have their own precinct.
Reda became the first president of the precinct’s community council, ushering in a new era of community-police relations in the neighborhood.
That relationship between community members and the police was the unofficial theme of the anniversary ceremony, said current precinct community council president Joe Thompson.
Commissioner Bratton and others at the ceremony praised that strong relationship and highlighted it as an achievement of the precinct, said Thompson.
“They recognize the close affinity the police department and the community have here,” said Thompson.
Current commanding officer Captain Timothy McCormack, the 14th commanding officer of the precinct, said he will continue to build on the successes of commanders who came before him.
“The community and police have worked together to make this a better place to live and a better place to work.”