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Familiar Faces to Make Up 88th Precinct's New Community-Policing Program

By Alexandra Leon | October 27, 2016 4:27pm
 Sgt. Matthew Piezzo will be leading the Neighborhood Coordination Officer program at the 88th Precinct.
Sgt. Matthew Piezzo will be leading the Neighborhood Coordination Officer program at the 88th Precinct.
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DNAinfo/Alexandra Leon

CLINTON HILL — As the NYPD’s new community-policing program rolls out in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, residents can expect to see some familiar faces. 

Each of the 88th Precinct’s new “neighborhood coordination officers,” or NCOs, are veteran officers that have been working the beat for years. 

Commanding Officer John Buttacavoli introduced the officers Wednesday night at St. Joseph’s College.

Buttacavoli, who has been leading the precinct since April, said he chose officers who have already established themselves as a part of the community. 

“I wanted to pick the right people for this program,” he said. “So my process was, I wanted to get veteran guys that I knew knew the community very well.”

Under the program, eight specially trained NCOs are permanently assigned to one of four newly created patrol sectors within the precinct. The officers are tasked with getting to know the residents and blocks within their sector on personal level.

The 88th Precinct’s new NCOs have been establishing those relationships since before the program officially rolled out earlier this month. 

In May, officers Kraig Klouda and Richard Kern helped investigators catch the last of 10 drug dealers who were being sought for selling narcotics outside a methadone clinic at Fulton Street and Waverly Avenue. The "Sector A" officers, who have 10 and 12 years on the job respectively, recognized the suspect’s face from their daily patrols and were able to identify him to investigators on the case. 

“I was happy to make them NCOs because they really took a vested interest in the community and they really took a vested interest in what they’re doing out there every day,” Buttacavoli said.

Other officers like Det. Eanna McCabe, who’s been at the precinct for 18 years, are already community fixtures. McCabe was promoted to detective after several years on the Myrtle Avenue post.

“I’ve always regarded myself as being an NCO officer in certain respects,” he said. “I think this program, it rubber stamps that fact.”

McCabe will be in charge of the precinct’s "Sector B," along with Officer Evelyn Torres, who has more than 10 years on the job.

Longtime partners officers Desmond Dempster and Bernard Barrow, who have 19 and 17 years on the job, respectively, will be in charge of "Sector C," which includes the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman houses, as well as the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

The 88th Precinct’s "rookie NCOs" will be in charge of "Sector D," the precinct’s largest, but Buttacavoli said officers Amador Rivero and Vincent Ciardiello will make up for having fewer years on the job with “pure motivation.”

“They were the fastest guys out of the gate,” the commanding officer said. “They were really down out there in the nitty-gritty. They are dealing with absolutely everyone.”

Rivero and Ciardiello, who have six and seven years on the job, respectively, will patrol the sector that includes several high schools, Fort Greene Park, Atlantic Terminal and the Barclays Center. 

Rivero vowed to take care of the neighborhood’s kids, as well as be open to talk with community members about pretty much anything.

“I don’t have children, but I can tell you this — we will do our best to look out for those children as if they were our own,” he said.

“If you live within our boundaries come talk to us. If there’s an issue in your building, if there is anything you want to talk about... I’m knowledgeable in heavy metal too, just in case.”

Sergeant Matthew Piezzo, a 12-year veteran with an investigative background, will be leading the precinct’s NCO program. 

Over the next few months, the precinct will be unveiling a brand-new website with profiles and contact information for each of the new NCOs. The officers will also have their own Facebook pages so residents can reach out to them with questions or concerns.