Captain Salowski Takes Reins Of 101 Precinct
On October 6, a new era began at the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway, when Captain Walter Salowski took over as its commanding officer. For almost a year before his promotion, Captain Salowski served as the precinct’s Executive Officer under the former commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lindahl, whom Salowski calls a mentor.
"I’m familiar with the people, I’m familiar with the key citizens," said Salowski. "I know the community, I know the politicians and I know the problems. I know what needs to be addressed."
Last year the 101 was the most crime-reduced precinct in New York City. The trend of overall crime reduction in the precinct continues this year. According to the most recently available NYPD CompStat data ending October 19, overall crime this year for the precinct is down almost 12 percent from the same time last year. Yet, two areas have seen a rise – one is murder. Murder is up by 120 percent with 11 murders this year as opposed to five last year.
Because of this, among the issues Salowski has targeted is getting guns and other weapons off the streets.
"[The initiative] started October 6, actually, to get guns off the street – to get weapons that can hurt you off the street," explained Salowski, who said that 16 percent more gun arrests have been made this year than last year. "If you don’t have the gun in your hand, you cannot commit the murder."
The precinct will also step up its domestic violence program. In its October 17 issue, The Wave reported two incidents of domestic violence that resulted in murder.
"Our domestic violence program is taking a new shape to help reduce the assaults, to help reduce the violence in the house. Because, that will give us a big boost in reducing the murder rate."
Robbery is up by 35 percent with 172 robberies opposed to 127 from the same time a year ago.
"I don’t know if it is as much economic as it is opportunistic," he said, in explaining the rise in such crimes.
"There’s a big problem with youth doing the robberies, so we’re going to focus our attention on [the NYPD’s] Weed and Seed efforts [and] youth programs. Make things available to the kids. I’m a firm believer in that … we have to occupy the time of young people. We have to give them a place to play ball. We have to give them a place to read a book … let’s give the kids something to do."
He will also center on quality of life issues.
"Quality of life triggers everything in a police department. Quality of life enforcement is critical to the success of the command in decreasing violence."
Captain Salowski believes a "partnership" must exist between the police department and the community, the businesses and the clergy in the area. In addition to addressing the members of the 101 Community Council on October 15, he has begun reaching out to others in the community.
"[Detective] Willie [Olmeda] and I walked up and down Mott Avenue. We’ve met the businessmen on Mott Avenue," said Salowski. "We’ve met with the clergy. We’ve met with the citizens who have complains about police operations and things like that. I want to hear everything."
The monthly council meetings – held the third Wednesday of each month – will now be held at 4pm. A time when, it is hoped, more business people and members of the community will be able to attend.
"We want to bring them to the meeting," said Captain Salowski. "We want to hear what they have to say, and we also want them to hear what we have to say."
Captain Salowski spent time at the 106 Precinct when he was promoted to sergeant in 1989 and worked several late night patrols in the 101 Precinct. He was also with the New York City Counter Terrorism Bureau (which began operation in February 2002).
Captain Salowski has a message for all of those living in the 101 Precinct.
"Help us help you. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Help your neighbor and we’ll help you. We’re here to help each other. If you have that kind of spirit, and it bleeds out on to the street, you can’t lose."