2000-12-02 / Front Page

101 Pct. Top Cop Promoted

101 Pct. Top Cop Promoted

Steady Crime Decline In Far Rock

By Joan Ward George

Gary Scirica, commanding officer of Rockaway’s 101 Precinct, was promoted last Wednesday to the rank of Deputy Inspector and credits his latest career ladder step to the diligent work put in by the men and women in blue who serve under him.

Scirica first arrived on the police scene in Rockaway in July of 1998 when he took over as captain and commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, following in the footsteps of Deputy Inspector Michael Morley. Morley was transferred to the more action-packed 101 Precinct, and Scirica followed in two short years.

While at the 100 Precinct, Scirica continued Morley’s fight against quality of life crimes and disturbances on the west end, and the precinct saw a steady decline in crime statistics across the board. Several times during Scirica’s reign at the 100 Precinct it was named the safest precinct in the city. Right from the get-go Scirica conducted himself as a "hands-on" commanding officer, relating one-on-one with the community, because that’s all part of his management strategy.

"When we work together, we [the cops and the community at-large] get things done," says Scirica. "It’s really just like any other business; people have to work together in order to get the best results."

"It was a discretionary promotion, one you get because of all the good work the people under you do. The cops here are phenomenal."

- Deputy Inspector Gary Scirica

Deputy Inspector Scirica has been involved in law enforcement and community service for more than 22 years. He began his career as a voluntary auxiliary police office 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 NYPD. Shortly thereafter Scirica’s focus became criminal investigations and he was designed 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, located in Coney Island. His most recent assignments included working in headquarters for the chief of transportation and the chief of patrol.

Deputy Inspector 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 Sate Bureau of Municipal Police as Master Instructor and is a member of the American Academy for Professional Law Enforcement.

Scirica really loves being a cop and thoroughly enjoys interacting with people. Quoted in The Wave two years ago when he first arrived in town, Scirica said, "I believe that cops are special people who are tasked to handle a myriad of problems that arise in the community."

No stranger to the types of problems that beachfront communities experience, Scirica pledged early on to place a heavy emphasis on quality of life issues and to work long and hard to reduce and eliminate such problems. And that he did.

Nearly two years to the date of his arrival on the west end of the peninsula, Scirica was shuffled over to the 101 Precinct in July, 2000. When he arrived at the precinct crime was up and crime stats were high and climbing. Up to July 1, 2000, as compared to last year for the same period, crime in the 101 Precinct was up 10 percent. As the result of several of Scirica’s initiatives, crime now is down one percent as compared to last year during the same period, and according to the Deputy Inspector, he expects the decline to continue.

Scirica’s approach to cooling things down and turning around the 101 Precinct was threefold. First of all, he started what he calls, "Operation Riptide", which essentially involved reorganizing the resources available to the precinct. This included, re-arranging everyone’s hours so that their work schedules would coincide with when the crimes were occurring in the precinct. Not a popular move for a new commanding officer, but it seemed to turn the tide. Scirica also reached out to Queens Borough Patrol for help from their robbery, warrants, and gang units, as well as for additional narcotics coverage.

"Operation Welcome Home", also started by Scirica at the 101 Precinct, calls for all parolees returning to residences in the neighborhood to actually report to their parole officers at the precinct. "Now when they come into see their parole officers, they know we know they’re on the street; we can debrief them and let them know that we are fully aware of any restrictions that might have been placed on them by their patrol board," Scirica said.

Was Scirica surprised at his latest promotion? "I wasn’t exactly expecting it right now, but it is a great honor," he said. "It’s not like I took a test for the promotion. It was a discretionary promotion, one you get because of all of the good work the people under you do. Scirica attributes the promotion and steady decline in crime stats to the cops at the 101 Precinct. The cops here are phenomenal," Scirica told The Wave. "They are taking a lot of guns off the street. And you have to give a lot of extra credit to that one cop who pulls over that extra car, or the patrol unit that stops and does an extra vertical [observation of a building]. These are the things that make a difference."

"I really appreciate the community and the way they take time out to work with the cops," Scirica said. According to Scirica, the two basic things that make it possible to fight crime are the cops and the residents of the community working together toward that common goal.

Scirica will remain, for the time being, as the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct and vows to continue the trend of decreasing crime stats in all the major categories, including robbery, assaults, shootings and narcotics.

Deputy Inspector Scirica’s hobbies include archery, bike riding, camping, reading, computers, and playing the guitar. Of most recent note, Scirica tied the knot on October 14 when he married his girlfriend of three years, Jacqueline, who is an underwriter for an insurance company. The couple honeymooned for 10 days in Aruba.

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