"Get to know your precinct commanders, your anti-crime units," Kerik said, speaking to about 75 people assembled at the 112th Precinct for the precinct community council's monthly meeting last Wednesday night.
"I'm going to be there for you as much as you are there for me and the New York City Police Department," Kerik said.
Kerik became police commissioner in August after Howard Safir stepped down. The former head of the Department of Correction, Kerik was heralded for the dramatic reduction of crime that took place in the city's prison system under his tenure.
Kerik lauded the 112th Precinct, which includes Forest Hills and Rego Park, as one of the precincts with the most dramatic reduction in crime in the entire city. Overall crime has fallen nearly 70 percent over the past seven years in the 112th Precinct.
Despite the praise for the precinct's performance, many residents have expressed concerns that police response times are too slow and that the precinct does not receive its fair share of police officers.
Residents did not have the chance to question Kerik, who left the meeting immediately after making his eight-minute remarks, about whether the 112th Precinct will receive more police officers. The precinct covers the neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park.
But the police commissioner acknowledged those concerns during his comments.
"One of the things people in the city want most is more cops," he said. "Am I right?" The room burst into applause.
The issue has become a main concern of state Assemblyman Michael Cohen (D-Forest Hills), who said he wrote letters to the former commissioner for two years requesting more officers but never received a reply.
In a letter to the new commissioner dated Sept. 18, Cohen asked for a meeting with Kerik to discuss whether more police officers will be assigned to the 112th Precinct and the 104th Precinct, which includes the neighboring areas of Glendale, Middle Village and Ridgewood. Cohen's aide, Howard Pollack, said the assemblyman has not yet received a reply.
©2000 Community News Group
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