109th Council honors its citizen academy grads

Inspector Brian Maguire (l.), the commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, presents Police officers Thomas Farley (second l.) and Yu Yam (third l.) with Cop of the Month Awards as they are joined by 109th Community Council President Chrissy Voskerichian (r.). Photo by Joe Anuta
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The 109th Precinct Community Council held its year-end dinner party earlier this month and honored one of its own along with some of the city’s Bravest.

About 30 people attended the gala at Magna Restaurant, at 35-25 Farrington St., where council President Chrissy Voskerichian announced that one of the council’s members was the valedictorian of this fall’s graduating class of The Citizens’ Police Academy, a 14-week training course where civilians go through the same types of training as many bona fide police cadets.

“It’s about community awareness and awareness of what happens in the street,” Voskerichian said of the academy. “It gives you a better understanding of what officers deal with.”

Sonia Rueda was the top cadet in this season’s class of about 200 people, and she is the second valedictorian from the 109th Precinct Community Council, Voskerichian added.

The council president herself has completed the training and described simulated standoff situations projected onto video screens, including one in which a perp is holding a firearm in one hand and a baby in the other. The cadets have to decide what to do: shoot or wait.

They also take hostage negotiation classes and get schooled in how to approach domestic violence situations.

The training is realistic, Voskerichian said, but there are plenty of officers doing the real thing every day.

Two of the city’s Finest received the Cop of the Month Awards at the dinner and were praised by Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer at the 109th, which covers Flushing, Whitestone, College Point and Bay Terrace.

“I want to thank them for their great work and outstanding efforts,” he said before bestowing the honors.

Police officers Yu Yam and Thomas Farley are two plainclothes officers in the precinct’s anti-crime team. The precinct had received numerous reports of cellphone robberies near Kissena Corridor Park.

On Nov. 24 at 7 p.m., the two responded to a report of a robbery in progress near the corner of Colden Street and Negundo Avenue. According to a victim’s report, three men approached him from behind, choked him and stole his iPhone, the officers said.

After they received a report of the incident, Farley and Yam were near the park when they observed some teenagers who matched the description of the suspects, they said. Two 15-year-olds were arrested and charged with second-degree robbery, according to the officers, who said the pair traveled from the 101st and 107th precincts specifically to commit the crimes.

In the wake of the arrest, the officers said reports of cellphone thefts in the area had ceased.

In other precinct news, the dog lost in Superstorm Sandy and featured in TimesLedger Newspapers was taken in by a new family. Officers had nicknamed the pooch Stewie, but the canine now has a new name.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 11:11 am, January 2, 2013
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