New Bed-Stuy Commanding Officer Vows to Rebuild Trust With Community

By Paul DeBenedetto on April 15, 2014 9:46am 

 Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson, the new commanding officer of the 81st Precinct, promised to rebuild trust between police and the community.
Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson, the new commanding officer of the 81st Precinct, promised to rebuild trust between police and the community.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The 81st Precinct's new commanding officer vowed to rebuild trust between police and the Bed-Stuy community as he spoke at his first precinct community council meeting

Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson discussed his role as commanding officer of the eastern Bed-Stuy precinct at the meeting last week and said he would work to repair the "bonds" between the NYPD and the community.

"I want to engage the community and build a partnership with the community," he said. 

"We can talk about how we reduced crime, and crime is down from years ago, but I think in doing that, I think we've destroyed some of the bonds that we've had with the community."

The 81st Precinct faced controversy in 2010 when a series of Village Voice articles detailed arrest quotas, stat fixing and other alleged corruption within the precinct

The story eventually led to the transfer of commanding officer Steven Mauriello, who was replaced by Inspector Juanita Holmes.

Holmes' tenure began with a brief increase in crime, followed by a drop in major felony offenses, which fell to 1,495 in 2013, down from 1,571 the year before, according to NYPD statistics.

Stop-and-frisks also dropped during Holmes' tenure, from 13,651 in 2011, to 9,709 in 2012, according to NYPD statistics and reports.

Of the 9,709 people stopped in 2012, 89 percent were innocent, according to a report from the NYCLU.

"We can go out and do a great job arresting people and fighting crime, but then we've got to rebuild," Henderson said.

"I only have 200 officers assigned to the 81st Precinct, but I have 5,000 partners in the community, eyes and ears, and I need every one of you to help me sustain the gains that we've accomplished."

Part of that community outreach will include engaging young people in the community, Henderson said.

The commanding officer mentioned Kahton Anderson, the 14-year-old accused of shooting and killing a man on a B15 bus last month, and Marcell Dockery, a 16-year-old charged with sparking a fire that led to the deaths of two police officers because he was "bored," police sources said.

"You're walking a fine line when you're a young man, a young woman growing up in the city," said Henderson, a Queens native.

"You can go one way, or you can go another way. And a lot of kids make choices that, you know, are not always the best choices."

Henderson even gave his email address and phone number to everyone in attendance at last week's meeting, and said he would meet with anyone looking to make a difference.

"Bring problems to me," Henderson said. "My door is open."

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