COBBLE HILL — Capt. Jeffrey Schiff, the new commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, comes from a family of police officers and knows that an essential part of leading a precinct is opening a direct line of communication with the community.
Schiff, 45, replaces Capt. John Lewis, who helmed the 76th for about 18 months before being named commanding officer of the 71st Precinct in Crown Heights.
Schiff, a 16-year veteran who graduated third in his Police Academy class, earned a degree in electrical engineering from Polytechnic University. When he couldn’t find work in his field, his focus shifted to law enforcement, where he would follow the footsteps of his aunt and uncle who were NYPD officers.
Brooklyn-born Schiff isn’t new to the neighborhood, born just outside the boundaries of the 76th Precinct, on Henry Street, just north of Cobble Hill.
He grew up in Queens, where he currently lives with his wife, a former police sergeant whom he married in March, just weeks before he took command of the Union Street stationhouse on April 12.
“I’m very happy,” said Schiff. “This is a nice wedding present to get this command. This year is the year that things are happening.”
Early in his career Schiff worked patrol at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens.
Not long after he got there, though, he suffered a badly dislocated arm in a scuffle during an arrest and was out of work for a year following surgery.
Eventually, he returned to full duty at the 108th Precinct, covering Long Island City.
“I came back because I didn’t want to give up,” said Schiff. “I knew I was going places.”
Schiff was a lieutenant in lower Manhattan and as a captain, served as second-in-command at the 76th Precinct and the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge.
He commanded the Impact Zone — a program that floods high crime neighborhoods with extra officers — within the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush, an area that saw 120 shootings during his four years there.
To bring community members and police officers from the 67th Precinct together, Schiff introduced an email notification system that he hopes to use at the 76th Precinct as well — sending out electronic notifications for wanted criminals and crime patterns.
The biggest issues in the 76th Precinct are grand larcenies and burglaries, which are up 20 and 27 percent, respectively, this month, he said.
“The connection here is that they’re getting information about what’s happening just within their community,” said Schiff. “It’s a targeted audience. I hope to bring that system here so that we have as many eyes and ears on the ground as possible. That’s my focus today, generating information.”