Safe City, Safe Streets Ceremony Recognizes NYPD Heroics
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | For local businesses to thrive, merchants, their staff and their shoppers all need to feel safe. Honoring the police who protect the neighborhoods where its 200 members do business, the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) held its 11th Annual Safe City, Safe Streets luncheon at Manhattan Penthouse last week.
Officers of the Year awards were given out to outstanding members of the Sixth, Ninth, 10th, 13th and Midtown South precincts.
Mathew Heggem, the chamber’s president, gave the welcoming remarks. Before the awards, Deputy Chief James P. O’Neill, the New York Police Department’s chief of department, spoke.
O’Neill, however, was filling in for Police Commissioner Bratton, who had pulled out a few days earlier as the event’s keynote speaker.
Having gotten wind that Bratton would be speaking, protesters angered over the recent lack of an indictment of a police officer in Eric Garner’s death, had planned a protest action.
Though Bratton was a no-show, the protest still went on, with a few dozen people staging a die-in on the sidewalk outside the venue, at 80 Fifth Ave., near 14th St.
A few toted signs on posts that read, “Bratton Has Blood on His Hands! Fire Him!” and “Broken Windows, Broken Lives! Fire Bratton!” by PeoplesPower.net. The protest, however, started after most of the luncheon’s guests had already arrived.
Meanwhile, upstairs at the event, O’Neill, a 31-year NYPD veteran, told the audience that grand larceny is “the biggest problem” for police in the southern half of Manhattan. However, in some good news, he reported that grand larcenies in Manhattan South are down this year. According to CompStat figures for this year through Dec. 7, grand larcenies have dropped by 7 percent compared to the same period last year — a decrease from 10,397 grand larcenies last year to 9,681 this year.
Police continue to battle terrorism citywide, he said.
“There have been a number of terrorist plots against New York City since 9/11 and all of them have been thwarted,” he stated. An officer hacked with an ax in a “lone wolf attack” two months ago in Jamaica, Queens, is “having a good recovery,” he reported.
Photo by Zach Williams
NYC Community Media publisher Jennifer Goodstein, with NYPD Officer Scott Williams of the 10th Precinct (holding his Officer of the Year award). Williams played a key role in the arrest of two foreign nationals who were using the identities of 53 different individuals to withdraw money from local ATMs.
The threat of terrorism “requires the vigilance of all New Yorkers,” the high-ranking chief added, “particularly those living and working around the most vulnerable targets.”
In department-wide initiatives, he noted, police efficiency will increase as every officer gets equipped with a handheld computer device that will allow them to check arrestees for outstanding warrants and other vital information on the spot.
“It will be a big help,” he said.
As part of the city’s retraining of officers in the wake of Garner’s death during an arrest, all police are also currently undergoing a three-day training period, O’Neill added.
“If you’ve been following what’s been going on, you know what that’s all about,” he said.
During his remarks, that was the extent of what he had to say about the protests that have been roiling the city since a Staten Island grand jury cleared Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death on Dec. 3.
Asked afterward by about the die-in in front of the building and the ongoing protests over the lack of an indictment in the Garner case, O’Neill said police had been striving to maintain a “balance.”
“We’ve been dealing with these for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “People have a right to protest. We have to balance the rights of protesters with the rights of people to [go about their lives in] the city.”
Maria Diaz, the chamber’s executive director, introduced the Officer of the Year awards part of the program.
Winning the award for the Sixth Precinct were Sergeant Maggie Clamp and Officer James Quirk. They were honored for rushing wounded law-enforcement officers, who had engaged in a close-range shootout with a fugitive in a W. Fourth St. smoke shop on July 28, to Bellevue Hospital
After receiving a “10-13” radio signal — meaning, “assist police officer” — at 1 p.m., Clamp, the Greenwich Village precinct’s patrol supervisor, and Quirk, her driver, responded to the scene within seconds. While directing and maintaining the crime scene, Clamp immediately placed the injured officers — an NYPD detective and a U.S. marshal — in her vehicle for transport to Bellevue, where they received instantaneous medical treatment.
As the chamber’s program notes read, “Due to the quick action, decisiveness and leadership of Sergeant Clamp and the outstanding driving skills of P.O. Quirk, under the most stressful circumstances, both officers were successfully treated for their wounds.”
Clamp joined the force in 2006 and Quirk in 2011.
The Officer of the Year for the 10th Precinct went to Scott Williams. The seven-year NYPD veteran has been at the Chelsea precinct since 2008, first on the Cabaret Unit, which addresses quality-of-life issues around nightclubs, and since September 2009 with the Anticrime Unit, which focuses on felony crimes.
During his career, Williams has made 220 arrests, 60 for felonies. In one of his most notable collars (along with fellow Anticrime Unit members), he busted two foreigners for possession of 53 forged credit cards, which had their magnetic strips reprogramed with 53 different individuals’ personal information. The culprits were going to different ATMs and withdrawing money from each account.
Upon interviewing the two defendants, Williams was able to obtain a search warrant for their hotel room, where an additional 26 forged cards were recovered, along with $20,000 in cash.
The GVCCC Ninth Precinct Officers of the Year were Ravi Singh and Michael Delwey. The two work the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift in the East Village precinct, and have more than 60 combined arrests this year, including for larceny, assault, burglary and narcotics, among others. Singh will be promoted to sergeant soon and so will be transferred to another precinct.
The Midtown South Precinct’s Officers of the Year were Sean Malone and Gerard Collins. So far this year, the partners have made 11 felony arrests, 35 misdemeanor arrests and 17 quality-of-life arrests.
Jackson Dagobert was honored as the 13th Precinct Officer of the Year. A member of the precinct since 2011, he is on its Conditions Unit, which concentrates on quality-of-life issues. He has made more than 90 arrests this year.
Speaking afterward, Tony Juliano, the chamber’s former president, said, “I’m so unbelievably humbled by these hero cops that we honored today. This is our best event of the year.”