2006-05-05 / Front Page

Salowski Transferred From 101 Precinct

By Miriam Rosenberg

Deputy Inspector Walter SalowskiDeputy Inspector Walter Salowski Deputy Inspector Walter Salowski, who led the 101 Precinct to improved community relations and lower crime numbers, was reassigned to a new role within the NYPD this week.

Salowski told The Wave Thursday - his last day in the 101 - that he was transferred to the Applicants Processing Division, where all new NYPD hires - including police officers, traffic enforcement and school safety agents, clerks and even candidates for commissioner - undergo background checks and other screening.

In the last five years, the division has processed 86,000 candidates for the position of police officer alone, according to the NYPD. About 12,300 of those applicants are now members of New York's Finest.

"It's a different operation," Salowski said of his new assignment. "Now I have the opportunity to look at the selection process.

"I left my mark here and now maybe I can leave my mark there as well," he said.

Salowski told The Wave he would miss the 101 and the people he met and worked with here. "I'm sorry to be leaving," he said, calling his tenure here, "the highlight of my life.

Deputy Inspector Walter Salowski (left) sits with Detective Willy Olmeda of the 101 Precinct Community Affairs Unit at last year's RDRCdinner dance at Russo's On the Bay Deputy Inspector Walter Salowski (left) sits with Detective Willy Olmeda of the 101 Precinct Community Affairs Unit at last year's RDRCdinner dance at Russo's On the Bay "I want to thank everyone. So many people made the experience whole. It was fun. I'm going to miss each and every person," he said.

Salowski was put in command of the precinct in October 2003, following a year as the executive officer there. He was promoted from the rank of captain to deputy inspector last summer, which began to fuel speculation that he would also be transferred.

Over the last few years, the 101 has annually been one of the leading precincts in the city in the reduction in crime. Overall crime in the precinct, though it is up in the last two years, has decreased by almost 3 percent since this time last year.

The NYPD CompStat data ending October 19, 2003 (just two weeks after Salowski became commander of the 101) showed overall crime for the precinct was down almost 12 percent for 2003 from the same time the previous year. Yet, two areas were on the rise - one was murder. It was up by 120 percent, with 11 murders in 2003 compared to five at the same time in 2002. In the last two years, murder has gone down 33 percent.

Robberies were also on the rise when Salowski took command. Although it has gone up in the last two years, it has gone down 4.6 percent since last year.

In addition, domestic violence was up in 2003. During his first interview with The Wave in October 2003, Salowski said, "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."

Last week, Salowski and the 101 were honored by the Far Rockaway post office with a "Stop Family Violence" stamp cache to celebrate the reduction of violent crime, including domestic violence, in the precinct.

He has also carried through on his promise to get guns off the street with several important gun arrests by his officers. In January, gun arrests comprised 38 percent of the precinct's collars in the previous six months.

Yet, Salowski never became complacent. Last month he cautioned residents to be on the lookout for an increase in gangs.

"I've noticed it more and more. [They mark their territory] and the next step is violence," he warned at April's Community Council meeting.

At the same meeting, Salowski asked residents to let him know of any illegal fireworks being sold in the area in an effort to nip that summer issue in the bud.

Salowski has addressed quality of life issues such as graffiti, which he called "a blight on the community."

"Quality of life triggers everything in a police department," he said in 2003. Quality of life enforcement is critical to the success of the command in decreasing violence."

In addition to a reduction in crime, civilian complaints about officers in the precinct have gone down as well.

His message to Far Rockaway residents has always been one of teamwork. "Help us to help you," Salowski would say. To do this, the deputy inspector installed a private fax line in his office for residents to anonymously report concerns or criminal activity.

"No one else sees the faxes but me, then I bring in the [appropriate officers]," said Salowski at last month's council meeting. "That's why we have been successful. We're working together as a team."

When NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly attended a special community meeting in January community leader after community leader showered Salowski with praise and publicly asked Kelly not to transfer Salowski out of the 101 Precinct, as a result of his promotion last summer.

Gian Jones, the president of the 101 Precinct Community Council spoke with The Wave on Wednesday.

"I am saddened losing a friend, but I am happy if his leaving leads to bigger and better things for him," said Jones, who called Salowski both pro-police and pro-community.

"My agenda coming in was to make

the cops part of the community," said Salowski. "They did a good job working with people. There was more interaction with youth and whoever replaces

me needs to take advantage of that."

It was not clear at press time who will replace Salowski as commanding officer.

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