Piekarski ‘Oiling The Machine’ At The 100 Pct
If you haven’t already seen the new commanding officer of the 100 Precinct on the streets, chances are you will sometime soon – Captain Paul Piekarski says he really enjoys being out on patrol.
"I’m an adrenaline junkie – I enjoy the hunt, the chase, and the capture," Piekarski said.
A 20-year NYPD veteran, Piekarski said 99 percent of his career experience comes from street patrol and precinct duties.
He was first assigned to work in Queens about two years ago, and has been at both the 100 and the 101 Precincts before. For two months last year he covered for Captain Charles Talamo who had gone for special FBI training. He took command of the 100 Precinct about a month ago.
"It was an easy transition," Piekarski said. "There are a lot of good people in the right places in this precinct."
But coming to an area that has been so low in crime in recent years, he said, makes him a bit apprehensive. "It’s so safe and low in crime, but how can we get it even lower," he said. And that’s the question he said he has to answer.
In a low crime area, Piekarski said, prevention becomes the focus. That ranges from reminding people how to avoid being easy targets, to talking to them to find "local talent" – Piekarski’s favorite term for local law-breakers.
"I’m a firm believer of working hand in hand with the community," Piekarski said, adding that they are extra eyes and ears that can provide useful details about problem areas and crimes.
The 100 Precinct has seen crime decline by more than 70 percent over the last decade, according to NYPD CompStat figures, a trend that continued under the leadership of Piekarski’s predecessor.
"[Talamo] is very committed to crime reduction," Piekarski said.
In his first busy month in charge, Piekarski said, he hasn’t made any major changes. "I’ve just oiled the machine a little bit," he said.
One noticeable change is that the red "Beach Rules" sign, which hung in behind the commanding officer’s desk while Talamo was in charge, is gone. Piekarski’s decorative centerpiece is an American "Flag of Heroes." But that doesn’t mean that the beach rules no longer apply.
Piekarski said the police department and the community should be a "happy family," but added that complacency causes problems for everyone, and that public safety is always a valid concern. "It’s going to change on a case by case basis….we’re not going to go down there and roust everybody," he said.
Piekarski added that he will meet with the community and local leaders before the summer season, but in the meantime the focus for his precinct will be "to work harder, and dig deeper to find the people responsible for crime."