MANHATTAN — Residents of several East Side neighborhoods welcomed a new commanding officer to the 17th Precinct this week.
Capt. James Sheerin replaces Deputy Inspector John Hart, who has been a well-liked and well-respected presence in the precinct that covers Midtown East, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill and Kips Bay.
Hart will now take over the 46th Precinct in the Bronx.
"We had one of the best commanding officers we’ve ever had," said Jay Litwin, the longtime president of the 17th Precinct Community Council, at a meeting earlier this week.
"He has gotten promoted, which is really good news," Litwin added. "The bad news is, he’s going to be the commanding officer of the 46th Precinct, and not the 17th."
Litwin then introduced Sheerin to the group.
"The really good news is that we have a new commanding officer," Litwin said. "He has a distinguished resume and pedigree."
Sheerin, who grew up in Woodside, Queens, comes to the 17th Precinct from the NYPD Transit Bureau.
He has been a captain for nine years and has worked in Transit in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Sheerin has also served in the 1st, 6th and Midtown North precincts and did a brief stint as a sergeant in the 17th Precinct in the late 1990s.
At the meeting, Sheerin said he was very happy to return and pleased to see a turnout of several dozen residents at the meeting.
"When I found out I was going to be assigned here, I tell you in all honesty, I couldn't be happier," Sheerin said at the meeting. "I feel like I moved away, and I moved back."
"I don’t want to talk about myself," he added after rattling off a brief bio. "I’m here to help you."
Several residents didn't hesitate to take him up on the offer, and proceeded to raise recurring concerns about renegade cyclists who flout traffic laws and drivers who whip through the streets in the area surrounding the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
Others expressed issues with the sidewalk on First Avenue between East 58th and 59th streets being overcrowded with parked bicycles.
"Now welcome to the 17th Precinct," Litwin said, drawing laughter from the crowd in light of the free-flowing concerns and complaints. "It’s a quality-of-life precinct."