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61st Pct. says farewell to chief - Captain Vincent Stella departs after 45 months at command

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Captain Vincent Stella, the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct, departed Sheepshead Bay last week for an extended leave of absence. “It’s been a great 45 months,” Stella said Friday from the Coney Island Avenue stationhouse as he bid farewell to colleagues. “I consider the cops of the 61st Precinct and the residents of this community as my second family, so this comes with some mixed emotions.” “On one hand I’m going to miss my second home, but I’m happy that it will continue in the right direction,” he said. “The 61st Precinct has a ton of good people. This place is not going to miss a beat without me.” Stella’s departure could be a precursor to his early retirement from the NYPD. As he enjoys a backlog of vacation time, he and his family will be determining what his next step would be, he said. Stella, who quickly moved up the ranks in his 17 years with the NYPD before his arrival in Sheepshead Bay, was reportedly disappointed that he hadn’t been promoted to Deputy Inspector or transferred to a more challenging position, sources said. He had also been in charge of the 61st Precinct for nearly four years – which is rare for most precinct commanders. During the course of his commendable career, Stella served in the 120th Precinct on the North Shore of Staten Island and the 66th Precinct in Borough Park. Stella joked that he was bounced back and forth to each command twice, once as a cop and then as a “boss.” Before his post at the 61st Precinct, he was executive officer of the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush. Under Stella’s watch, the 61st Precinct has celebrated a 23 percent reduction in felony crime, according to recently published CompStat figures. Because of his extended leave of absence, it’s assured that he won’t be coming back to the 61st Precinct, officials said. Officials at Patrol Borough Brooklyn South have chosen Captain George Mastrokakis, the executive officer of the 70th Precinct in Flatbush, to lead the 61st Precinct. “[Mastrokakis] has a lot of experience in Brooklyn behind him and he is very community oriented,” said Lieutenant James Woods, of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Community Affairs, who added that Stella left a positive mark in the 61st Precinct. “I’ve talked to a lot of local civic and religious leaders and elected officials in Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Manhattan Beach, and they are all sorry to see Stella go because he was so effective,” he said. “He [Stella] should be proud of his accomplish­ments.” Stella said that no matter where he goes, he won’t be too far from his friends in the 61st Precinct. “I’ll still be around,” the Brooklyn native said. “I’ll find whatever excuse I can to find to go to events and meetings. I may be wearing a different uniform, but I’ll keep in touch.”

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