2004-10-01 / Community

Torres Joins 101 Pct. Community Affairs Unit

By Miriam Rosenberg

Sergeant John McGrorty (left) congratulates Police Officer George Torres on his new appointment as Community Affairs Officer for the 101 Precinct. Picture by Miriam Rosenberg
Sergeant John McGrorty (left) congratulates Police Officer George Torres on his new appointment as Community Affairs Officer for the 101 Precinct. Picture by Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

For most of his 17 years with the NYPD Officer George Torres has served the Far Rockaway community in several capacities – high school officer at Far Rockaway High School, youth officer, about four years in domestic violence and two years in community policing. All those assignments, he said, have prepared him for his newest job as community affairs officer.

Torres began his new assignment in the 101 Precinct the week of September 18 and joins Detective Willie Olmeda in the Community Affairs Unit after the retirement of Officer Michael Valentino this summer.

Torres started his career at the 103 and 113 precincts before coming to the 101. He talked about the similarity between his past and current assignments.

“[They’re] different jobs, but it is still helping the community,” Torres told The Wave. “I understand Far Rockaway. I’ve been here a long time and have seen Far Rockaway grow.”

He has also seen many of the young people with whom he has worked as a high school officer and youth officer, grow.

“I actually have [some community members come up] and thank me for looking out for them in high school and putting them on the straight path,” said Torres. “They’re now adults and still live in the community, and they are now active in the community. I had a dialogue with them before and still have a connection with them. They tell me about problems in the neighborhood quicker then they would a new police officer.”

Torres, who currently lives in Flushing with his wife and 7-year-old son, was born in Manhattan and raised in Spanish Harlem. At age 12 he moved to Puerto Rico and lived there for three years. When his family returned to New York, they took up residence in Brooklyn. He also lived in Richmond Hill and attended Richmond Hill High School. Torres has, at one point or another, lived in all five boroughs of the city.

At age 20, he became a member of the NYPD.

“I became a police officer to give back,” he explained. “I’ve always been fascinated in dealing with people – in helping people.”

Busy as a community affairs officer might be, however, Torres is not all work and no play. For recreation, Torres has been diving for six years and he counts that as the ultimate way to get away from it all.

“That 45 minutes you are in the water, the only sounds you hear are the sounds of the bubbles from the tank,” described Torres. “You’re transported away…. It’s an awesome experience. I’d recommend it to everyone.”

He has dove from both Beach 6 and Beach 8 Streets. Torres calls the underwater world in those areas a thriving sea world – a gem that “a lot of people don’t know about.”

Glenda Nesmith, the president of the 101 Precinct Community Council, had nothing but praise for the selection of Torres as the new community affairs officer.

“It’s wonderful when you can know an officer both in the precinct and out of the precinct and know what kind of commitment they have for this community,” said Nesmith, at September’s council meeting in welcoming Torres to his new job.

Torres, who pursued the community affairs job and competed against other candidates, believes that the position gives him an excellent opportunity to continue working with the community.

“What better place [than community affairs] to interact with people, to help out the precinct and the community.

“I just like helping people. Making a difference makes me happy,” concluded Torres. “My door is always open. Any questions – youth, domestic violence, community policing; anybody can call me.”

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