Changing Of The Guard
By Joan Ward George
It’s summertime and the busiest time of year in Rockaway, and as they have traditionally done for the past several years, the powers that be in the NYPD have decided to play "let’s rotate captains" game. At midnight on Thursday, July 13, Gary Scirica, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, was officially transferred to the much busier 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway. Deputy Inspector Mike Morley, also a former 100 Precinct commanding officer, and the outgoing commander of the 101 Precinct, was also moved over to Patrol Borough Queens South as the clock struck 12.
During his tenure on the west end of the Rockaway peninsula, Scirica managed to keep the 100 Precinct rated as one of the safest, and often, the safest precinct in the entire city.
Scirica has been involved in law enforcement and community service for more than 20 years. He began his career as a voluntary auxiliary police officer for the Village of Ocean Beach, which is located on Fire Island in Suffolk County, New York. After spending two years in Ocean Beach, Scirica became a New York City Transit Police Officer. He worked as a patrol officer in District 33 in East New York for five years where he was promoted to sergeant. Exactly one year later, Scirica attained the rank of lieutenant and spent the next three years as the commanding officer of specialized training for the Transit Police Department. He was then promoted to lieutenant special assignments and was assigned to conduct internal investigations for the police department.
Shortly thereafter Scirica’s focus became criminal investigations and he was designated as a lieutenant squad commander.
In 1995 Scirica was assigned to conduct special narcotics investigations just as the transit police merged into the NYPD. At that time he was promoted to the rank of captain and was assigned to Transit District 34, in Coney Island. His most recent assignments prior to coming to Rockaway include working in headquarters for the chief of transportation and the chief of patrol.
Captain Scirica has a Bachelor of Science degree in management and has attained specialized training in narcotics and criminal investigations. He is also certified by the New York Bureau of Municipal Police as master instructor and is a member of the American Academy for Professional law Enforcement. He is also a recent graduate of Columbia Business School for Police Management.
Scirica took over as the 100th’s "top cop" in August, 1998 when Deputy Inspector (then Captain) Mike Morley was shuffled up to the 101 Precinct, and has had the longest run of any its last five commanding officers.
So Scirica once again finds himself following the path of Morley. Many agree that Morley has done great things up in the 101 Precinct over the past 23 months, significantly reducing street crime statistics and keeping an open line of communication with his community.
Scirica, who now takes over his second command post, told The Wave that his feelings about the move were "definitely mixed". "I’m sad to be leaving a bunch of great cops that I had the privilege to work with at the 100 Precinct and with a lot of people in that community that worked together with us to reduce crime," said Scirica. "Now, I’m looking forward to working with the people of this community in a similar way with the end goal of reducing crime, particularly violent crime."
Inspector Morley came to the 100 Precinct in May 1997, replacing Captain Rocco Romano. His former position within the department was as the commander of the Housing Police Service Area (PSA) 9. At the time Morley was responsible for all of the housing police in the borough of Queens. While at the 100 Precinct, his first precinct command, Morley gained the respect of the community through his open door policy and his hard handling of public safety issues.
Within 15 months, the 100 Precinct lost Morley to the 101 Precinct, where he has served until now. He was promoted to the rank of deputy inspector in December, 1999 and "the writing was already on the wall" that greater things were planned for him, and that he would not remain much longer at the precinct level.
At midnight on Thursday, Deputy Inspector Morley was to take over the duties of operations coordinator at Patrol Boro Queens South, in charge of all special details and projects for all eight precincts within the patrol.
Morley said the change was very melancholy for him. "I’ve been a commanding officer for three years, both in the 100 and the 101 precincts," Morley said. "I’ve gotten very used to the people and cops out here. Although it is a good move for my career, just like I told the commissioner, I really am sad about the change." Morley is a Queens boy, who spent a lot of summers out in Rockaway. "Being assigned there I really felt I had re-established my Rockaway routes," he said. After being transferred to the 101 Precinct, Morley and his wife, NYPD Captain Susan Morley, moved to Belle Harbor where they reside now with their 18 month old son, Michael.
It has been rumored, but not as yet confirmed, that the command of the 100 Precinct will be placed in the hands of a Captain John Miller, who as of Wednesday was a captain assigned to Brooklyn North Narcotics Tracer Division. (More on Captain Miller in next week’s Wave)