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New Jamaica Precinct Commander Plans to Target Career Criminals

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 10, 2014 9:38am
 Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann at his first 103rd Precinct Community Council meeting in Jamaica Tuesday night.
Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann at his first 103rd Precinct Community Council meeting in Jamaica Tuesday night.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — The new commanding officer of the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, who took over Monday, plans to focus on career criminals who he said are often responsible for much of the neighborhood's crime.

Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann replaced Inspector Charles McEvoy, the previous commanding officer, who was transferred to the NYPD's School Safety Division last month.

Cappelmann said that when he found out last Thursday that he would be taking over the 103rd Precinct, he was “ecstatic,” he said at the precinct's Community Council meeting Tuesday night.

He said his father served as a sergeant at the precinct from 1972 to 1991.

“My father loves this community. It means a lot to my family,” said Cappelmann, whose brother Kevin also served at the precinct as a police officer.

"I was here on a monthly basis from the time I was a young kid, maybe 4 to 5 years old, until I was 18."

Cappelmann arrives in Jamaica after more than two years as the commanding officer in the 9th Precinct on the Lower East Side. Prior to that he was in charge of Police Service Area 6, which covers 18 housing developments in Central Harlem.

An 18-year NYPD veteran who began his career on patrol in the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park, Cappelmann became deputy inspector in May 2012. He also worked in the 114th Precinct in Astoria and the 66th Precinct in Borough Park, as well as in narcotics in Manhattan South and in The Bronx.

He said his strategy will be to target repeat offenders.

He said that “recidivists, the same people, [are] causing crime after crime after crime where 99.9 percent of the population are great people just trying to … live their life.”

“There are only a few people out there that are causing problems for everybody else."

He said that oftentimes one “quality arrest” can prevent a number of criminal incidents.

He cited the example of a 15-year-old in Manhattan who allegedly committed 15 robberies in four days earlier this year. After his arrest, the problem in the area stopped.

“I think the goal here is smart enforcement by the Police Department, targeted enforcement on the actual criminals who are committing the crimes and hopefully we’ll be able to make [a] positive affect on the quality of life for everybody else,” Cappelmann 

He said that his goal is also to gain the trust of the community and work with local residents on safety issues.

“When you work together you can achieve tremendous goals,” he said.

Donna Clopton, president of the 103rd Precinct Community Council, said that she looks forward to work with Cappelmann.

“It’s good to have him and it’s great that he feels like it’s home,” she said.