New Community Affairs Officer For 100 Precinct
Griffith replaces Police Officer Kenneth Beecher, who will retire soon. Brust replaced Police Officer Pete Rahaniotis, who accepted a transfer late last year.
Griffith, 30, is already a familiar face in Arverne; he was a beat cop there for nearly 10 years. In fact, Arverne is where he says his training for his new position began.
“That’s how I got my start in Community Affairs, really,” Griffith told The Wave in an interview shortly after Captain Paul Piekarski made the official announcement and introduction at last week’s sparsely attended Community Council Meeting.
Griffith says that patrolling on foot, bike or scooter made him more accessible and helped him to interact with members of the community.
“I met quite a few people,” he recalled before rattling off a list of who’s who in the community.
Now, he’ll be turning up at Rockaway events in the royal blue jacket that has become the signature of the Community Affairs Unit. His bright smile and affable personality is certain to help him make new friends throughout the precinct.
The Community Affairs Unit handles a variety of non-emergency police issues. They are like the NYPD’s own 311, and are visible at every major event – everything from parades and bike races to accident or crime scenes. There are two officers assigned to the unit in each precinct. For those officers, it means a shift in duty from the regular grind to, well, a different kind of grind.
“You spend a lot of time in non-enforcement,” Griffith said. The irregular hours and meetings that come with the territory are sure to spice up his calendar; Griffith, who is unmarried and lives in Cambria Heights, attends classes at York College two nights a week. On Sundays, he attends services at St. Alban the Martyr.
He sees the goal of the Community Affairs Unit as improving the relationship of the NYPD and the general public. “We have to have a strong relationship to be effective on many issues,” Griffith said, adding that relationships lead to information sharing. “[Community Affairs] is kind of the centerpiece of what the police department does. I think it’s the direction of the NYPD.”
One thing he’d like to improve is outreach to children, since society’s youngest members can easily get wrapped up in criminal activity.
“I think younger people are missing in that community/police relationship,” he said.
One way to fix that is to start up a “Cops and Kids” athletic program. Griffith says that he will make that a priority while continuing to build on the strong relationships, professionalism and standards that Beecher and Rahaniotis maintained.
“When people reach out to our office I want them to think that we did everything we could to address their concern,” said Griffith.
The 100 Precinct Community Affairs Unit can be reached at (718) 318-4233 or by e-mail at 100Comm unityAffairs@myway.com.
The 100 Precinct Community Council meets on the fourth Wednesday of most months, 7:30 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus on Beach 90 Street.