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109th Precinct police praised at breakfast

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At a breakfast Friday geared toward honoring the community for its cooperation with the 109th Precinct, the Rev. Nicholas Tweed of the Macedonia AME Church in Flushing instead made a motion to praise the police.

Tweed, before giving a blessing at the event held at the LaGuardia Sheraton East Hotel, praised the work of 109th Precinct detectives for making arrests in the two−year−old murder cases of Maurice Parker and Pashad Gray recently.

“If it had not been for the work of the 109, those cases would not be resolved and those killers would not be off the street,” Tweed said. “It is good to hold them accountable, but it is more important to commend them when warranted.”

The arrests are part of a slew of major busts by the precinct recently. Deputy Inspector Matthew Whelan said last month the 109th Precinct also arrested two suspected burglary teams and another alleged robbery group that figured in more than 200 thefts of car rims and wheels over the last several months.

“These guys are very sophisticated,” Whelan recently told the College Point Civic Association at an earlier event. “You’ll arrest these guys and you’ll find them with paperwork on all of the targets they’re looking at hitting. One of these teams had 128 addresses on paper when we took him in.”

Despite the success, Whelan said Friday that community support is a crucial cog in a successful precinct, which covers Flushing, College Point, Whitestone, Malba, Beechhurst, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Queensborough Hill and parts of Bayside.

“We have a tough job every day,” he said. “Their support makes our job a bit easier. Take those [Parker and Gray] murders, for example. People did step up and helped our detectives moving forward with that case. The trust we develop with the community, it’s very helpful.”

At the LaGuardia Sheraton breakfast, Whelan honored children from the schools in the community who participated in anti−bully and street−safety programs.

“We have a great relationship with our schools and we always get such an amazing response from the kids,” said Police Officer Amanda Booth, who recently visited schools to speak out against bullying.

Community Affairs Detective Kevin O’Donnell said the precinct has stressed community involvement and dialogue over the past few years

“The precinct is only as strong as its community,” O’Donnell said. “The police can’t go around and fix everything. The help and support of the community, that’s what helps us keep our streets safe.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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