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for breaking news visit www.qns.com DECEMBER 24, 2015 • times 3 P.O. Gonzalez (center) and his wife and two sons accepting the Cop of the Year award from 104th Precinct Community Council president, Len Santoro (left) and Capt. Mark Wachter (right). ‘COP OF THE YEAR’ By Anthony Giudice agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com @a_giudicereport He was the finest of the 104th Precinct’s Finest this year. P.O. Geraldo Gonzalez received the 104th Precinct Community Council’s first “Cop of the Year Award” during a dinner held at Middle Village’s Villa Erasmo restaurant on Dec. 20 for making the biggest difference while on duty throughout 2015. Members of the 104th Precinct Community Council, precinct commander Capt. Mark Wachter, C o n g resswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Mike Miller and fellow officers honored Gonzalez, who was joined by his wife and two sons. “I feel honored,” Gonzalez said. “Sometimes officers don’t get recognition for their hard work.” Gonzalez was assigned to the 104th Precinct in January 2013. He assumed responsibility for the Precinct Graffiti program in October 2014 and is credited for working with community service graffiti cleanups with local civic organizations and neighborhood volunteers in removing graffiti from around the precinct. “I want to be here to join all of you and my colleague Assemblyman Miller really to congratulate all of you, and especially to our officer today, Officer Gonzalez,” Meng said. “Thank you so much for your work, this is a great idea for an inaugural event. Gonzalez is also involved with several other programs within the precinct and outside of his life as a cop. He has assisted and mentored police officers assigned to the Field Training program, he has helped coordinate fund raising events for officers in need of assistance, and he is involved with the Police Athletic League (PAL) basketball, football and softball programs as well as volunteering as a little league football coach in upstate Orange County. “He mentored the new police officers that came out of the police academy,” Wachter said. “He would take the new guys out, teaching them about the community, teaching them how to make arrests and how to do paperwork. It takes a special person to do that.” “And also in his off-duty life … he actually has time, he is a little league football coach in Orange County,” he added. “He’s working here, he’s taking on all these additional jobs in the police department, and he doesn’t have to. He could just come to work, do his job and go home. But he takes these added things on at work.” Illegal massage parlor crackdown continues in 104th Precinct RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice Captain Mark Wachter By ANTHONY GIUDICE agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com @a_giudicereport Since employing new tactics to combat prostitution at illegal massage parlors, the 104th Precinct has seen another establishment close, the precinct’s commander informed residents during the 104th Precinct Community Council meeting Dec. 15 night at Frank Kowalinski Post 4 in Maspeth. Capt. Mark Wachter’s strategy in getting these institutions closed included placing uniformed police officers in front of known illegal massage parlors in hopes of deterring the establishments from opening, or patrons from entering. The latest illegal massage parlor to close its doors for good due to an increase in police presence was Dream Spa, located at 65-18 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. “We put an officer in front of there for a few weeks, and it closed down on its own,” Wachter said. “My strategy was … if you’re a legitimate business, you’re a barber shop, a bodega, a house of worship, you’re going to be happy to see a uniformed police officer walking back and forth on your block. If you’re a business operating illegally, you’re not going to be happy to see us. You can open up, you can operate, I’m not going to stop you, but most people are not going to walk into a business with a police officer there.” Wachter is now looking toward local lawmakers for legislative help to change the laws to prevent these illegal establishments from opening up. “We only have so much enforcement powers the police department can do, but I need help. I need legislative help. I need the laws to be changed,” he told residents. “What I’m looking to do as I’m sitting down with the local representatives and even the state representatives, I want them to draft a law, a proposal in the City Council or in Albany basically saying that we can go in there and inspect these facilities and if you don’t have the proper permits you have to close down … once you get all the proper permits you can open up again.” During the meeting Wachter also noted a downturn in crimes for the month for the Precinct. The 104th Precinct is down about 11 percent in crime, which means there has been 146 fewer victims of serious crimes, he noted. “Right now, as I said, for the year we are down in every major crime,” Wachter said. “Next year we are going to introduce some new strategies. We already started some things now for the holiday season. A lot of times during the holiday season you’ll see some kind of uptick in crime, crimes of opportunity.” Wachter warned those in attendance to be mindful of their surroundings during the holiday season as crooks tend to target unattended belongings at this time of year. 104th Precinct lauds Gonzalez at Middle Village dinner I feel honored. Sometimes officers don’t get recognition for their hard work.” --P.O. Geraldo Gonzalez of the 104 Precinct


RT12242015
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