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New captain takes over precinct in Little Neck

The new captain of the 111th Precinct in Bayside introduced himself to the community last week, the fourth commanding officer to take over the northeast Queens precinct in the past two years.

Capt. Julio Ordonez was transferred from the 110th Precinct in Corona earlier this month, replacing outgoing Capt. Kevin Fitzgerald. The New York Police Department would not comment this week on where Fitzgerald was transferred to or why.

Fitzgerald came to the 111th Precinct in December 2000 to replace Capt. Anthony Mullen, who held the post for roughly a year before being promoted. Mullen arrived in December 1999 to fill the spot vacated by a retiring Capt. Anthony Lubrano.

Ordonez was stationed at the 111th Precinct in 1998 under Lubrano, before being transferred to the 110th Precinct.

“I’m familiar with the community,” Ordonez told the more than 30 people who gathered for the 111th Precinct Community Council meeting Sept. 5.

Referring to the revolving-door status of the top post at the 111th, Ordonez said he would like to stay put.

“This is the right place to be,” he said.

The 111th Precinct includes the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills, Auburndale and parts of Flushing. The area has had some of the lowest crime rates in the city for several years but continues to battle the problems of car thefts and burglaries.

Much of the precinct council meeting focused on the 111th’s efforts at school safety, a dominant issue in the area because of the prolific number of schools within the precinct’s borders.

Schools Sgt. Robert Pace said the 111th Precinct oversees about 35 schools, including three high schools and middle schools.

Pace pointed out several school problems in the precinct, including children who would typically misbehave at dismissal time and parents who double-or triple-park while taking their kids to school.

“Most of our problems came at dismissal time,” said Pace, referring to the 2000-2001 school year. “We used a large police presence then, and it’s very effective.”

But while drugs and violence have not been major problems in the 111th Precinct schools so far, Pace said, the parents who double- park have been creating dangerous situations where children could get hurt.

“Please don’t double-park,” Pace emphasized. “There’s going to be a tragedy we’re not going to be able to take away. It’s for the safety of the kids.”

It is not uncommon in northeast Queens to see dozens of cars parked three across in front of schools, taking up more than a lane of traffic and pulling in or out quickly as children walk haphazardly through a maze of vehicles to get to school.

The problem is rampant at both public and private schools in the area and generally occurs when parents drop off their children in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.

Ticketing the double-parkers has been difficult, Pace said.

“As soon as [a police] car pulls up, the first car gets a ticket and everyone else scatters,” he said. “It’s just an uphill battle.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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