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Neighbor to Neighbor: Residents welcome cops to new Rosedale quarters

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The morning of...

By Barbara Morris

Waiting for a new arrival is not always easy. We learn patience. Month after month goes by and we wonder if the big day will ever arrive. We try and try again to find out an exact date, but we are invariably told, “It all depends.”

The morning of Tuesday, June 8, the sun shone brightly and warmly. There was a pleasant, light breeze. This was to be the day we had been awaiting. Soft fluffy things seemed to be everywhere. They were all a big surprise to us. We had not needed them, nor did we want them, but they were there and kept coming. Our wait was over.

The new addition to our southeast Queens family, the new NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South Command Task Force, arrived and took possession of its new house we have watched being built at 244-04 North Conduit Ave., Rosedale, NY 11422. It is open and ready for business. Its phone number is 718-276-1429.

I was grateful for the opportunity to welcome them and we hope everyone will feel the same way. When I first arrived I had an opportunity to chat with some of the officers who were moving in provisions and attending to other general tasks. I asked them if they knew what all the soft fuzzy things were. One of them groaned a bit and said, “There’s a cottonwood tree in back.”

I had never been around a cottonwood tree during that particular phase of life, but it certainly could not be overlooked. They were plentiful, soft, fluffy balls that varied in size up to about 2 inches in diameter. They attached themselves to clothing, hair, skin and, of course, on the ground. They certainly didn’t hurt when they landed but I’m sure they were a concern to the soloist, Police Officer Shelley Sylvester, who had to keep shooing them from her nose and mouth before she was called on to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Nevertheless, in accordance with the perfection of the Ceremonial Unit, during her beautiful performance she had complete composure. The NYPD Pipers and Color Guards greeted other Police Department and government officials, civic leaders, clergy and some of us just folks. Among those who spoke briefly were Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who also noted the spring “snowfall” and then explained that the Task Force, although housed within the confines of our 105th Precinct, is apart from it and will be serving all precincts within Patrol Borough Queens South Command.

We will, however, see these additional officers as they come and go, sometimes on assignment in the 105th and sometimes elsewhere. Later, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, Assistant Chief Thomas Dale, and commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South Task Force, Captain Albert Becker, spoke, followed by a prayer by the Rev. Kevin McBrien of Rosedale’s St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church.

Other city officials there were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; City Councilmen Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), James Gennaro, (D-Fresh Meadows), Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica) and James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton); and members of Community Board 13, Richard Hellenbrecht and Sally Martino-Fischer.

The Rosedale Civic Association Board was represented by Frederick Kress, president; James English, chairman; Marie Granato, second vice president; and Loretta Panebianco, secretary. We were also pleased to have had a brief chat with some of our present and former 105th Precinct friends, Police Officers Pete Dwyer, Nicole Dean, Don Barto, Janice McDaniel and Lt. Scott Rubinson.

We are particularly happy to welcome back Lt. Rubinson as one of our new family members in the Task Force house. He was always a wonderful help when he was stationed at the 105th and I’m sure the same will be true in the Task Force. Though still housed at the borough, Sgt. Penny Walthall and Detective Ayanna Moree were welcomed as sisters and always will be.

Let’s all welcome the Task Force folks and the new officers who soon will be coming from the latest graduating class of the Police Academy. We should all try to help them help us, and if you’re a praying person, please say a prayer for their success and safety. Their lives and ours depend on that.

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