New Uptown Precinct Commander Wants Input on Crime, Quality-of-Life Issues

By Nigel Chiwaya on April 3, 2014 12:05pm 

 Deputy Inspector Chris Morello comes to Washington Heights and Inwood after four years in Police Service Area 5 in East Harlem.
Deputy Inspector Chris Morello comes to Washington Heights and Inwood after four years in Police Service Area 5 in East Harlem.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The new commanding officer of the 34th Precinct wants residents to know they have his ear.

Deputy Inspector Chris Morello introduced himself to the public Wednesday night, telling Community Board 12 members and other locals he'll spend the beginning of his tenure familiarizing himself with common concerns.

“I’m here to forge a relationship with everyone in the 34th, be it a nightclub owner, a resident or a homeless person on the street. I serve everyone in the 34th," he said.

Morello, 42, arrives in Washington Heights and Inwood after four years as the commanding officer of Police Service Area 5, which covers 27 NYCHA housing developments in East Harlem. A 20-year NYPD vet, he replaces Inspector Barry Buzzetti, who was transferred to Manhattan South last month after almost three years in charge of the 34th Precinct.

Morello said he plans to closely monitor 311 complaints in the precinct.

"If three people are calling about something on the same street, then something’s going on on and we have to do something about it," said Morello, a Brooklyn native.

Asked how he planned to handle the popular but often noisy Dyckman Street strip, the deputy inspector said he would approach businesses and locals that need to turn down the volume.

"We didn’t need a flux of calls to tell someone to lower the music," he said, adding he looks forward to forging relationships in the community.

“My door is always open. The door to the 34th Precinct is always open,” Morello said. "Having a bond with the community is the most important thing for me, because that's how I'm going to find out about whatever's going on."

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