2000-01-01 / Editorial/Opinion

Angels Among Us

With the 1999 crime stats showing continuous declines in crime in both the 100 and 101 Precincts, we believe there is no better time than now to say "job well done" to Captain Gary Scirica (100 Precinct), Deputy Inspector Mike Morley (101 Precinct), and all the officers that patrol the streets of Rockaway.

We are proud to live within the confines of the two safest precincts in Queens. Yes, we still have our problems, but we do not live in a utopian world. There will be car thefts, robberies, and even murder. The question is "How much?" and both precincts have done a good job at keeping the numbers low.

Captain Scirica explained that his emphasis is less on the stats, and more on "how comfortable they [residents] feel when they walk around the streets." This is what good policing is about. It is about the people being protected and their quality of life. Everyday, while we are off at work, in school, or sleeping in our beds, our police are out there protecting us, making our streets safer. They are the closest things that we have to angels on earth. Maybe they don't always have the personalities of angels, but, hey, they're human. But we must give them the respect for the job they are doing, something few of us would ever consider, that is, putting our lives on the line for perfect strangers.

Sure you have had a "negative" encounter with police. Probably didn't like when you were given a ticket. Sometimes you might have even felt it was nitpicking. But, chances are you wouldn’t have received the ticket if you didn't do something wrong. For those who don't like this arrangement, just remember the Social Contract. We exchange some freedoms (like speeding) for the knowledge that we will be protected by our government (the police) from other potential hazards (other speeders). If this is gone, we have chaos.

In a time when cops often get "beat up", it is important to recognize their good work, sometimes silently done. Take for example Officer Billy Kelly, a beat officer on Beach 116 street. Recently he went the extra mile. Many locals know Butchie McBride, a Vietnam vet who lived on the streets (mostly around Beach 116 street) for a good number of years. Most of the time, Butchie would be removed from the corner of Beach 116 street, sent to Peninsula Hospital, sobered up, and return a few hours later to the street. Officer Kelly recognized this vicious cycle, began to make some phone calls, and was able to get Butchie into a rehab center in Upstate New York. He was Butchie's angel this holiday season.

We can't forget about our other angels--our firefighters and Emergency Medical Service personnel. Just last week, Engine Company 265 and Ladder Company 121 were honored by Mayor Giuliani for providing gifts to Jasmine Roldan, 10 years old, and her family, residents of the Beach 41 Street Houses. The firefighters collected $600 and purchased gifts, household items and a decorated Christmas tree for the family, who have suffered the loss of a father, illness and poverty. These firefighters were Jasmine's angels this holiday season.

These are the good deeds that often go unnoticed. We thank each of the men and women who protect our streets, our homes, our children, our families…may your New Year be blessed with safety, love, happiness and much success.

Happy New Year's to all!

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