The latest 100th Precinct Community Council meeting was a source for information and inspiration. Just ahead of the new year, on Wednesday, December 30, the 100th Precinct Community Council held its monthly Zoom meeting, which featured guest speaker, retired NYPD Chief Joe Fox, who after a 38-year illustrious career, now serves as life coach and motivational speaker.
Fox opened by thanking Reverend Joyce Dugger, Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Rockaway, for the impact that churches have on communities. He then thanked 100th Precinct Community Council President Kathy Heavey for holding a moment of silence for TJ Curley, a 12-year-old boy who tragically died in a fire on December 7, 2017, as TJ was a neighbor of his. “TJ was a special kid who never failed to yell ‘Hi Chief’ no matter how many times I told him to call me Joe,” he said. He then thanked the 100th Precinct Community Council for all that it does. “We don’t police the community, we police with the community,” Fox said. Fox also recognized some of Rockaway’s local NYPD leaders, Captain Carlos Fabara of the 100th Precinct and Deputy Inspector Ronald McCall of Transit District 23.
Fox then spoke about his own experiences and his work as a motivational speaker before providing some words of inspiration to the group, though he said motivation really comes down to the people. He stated that it’s up people themselves to feel motivated and inspired and to feel good about their lives. He spoke of the importance of having strong leaders in the NYPD, but also rooting out the bad apples. “You can try to build all the morale you want and be wonderful…but if you are not taking care of a cancer, someone bringing the command down, then none of that other stuff matters,” he said.
Fox spoke about some of the challenges he faced in his 38-year career, from seven officers who died on the job to facing 9/11 as an officer and how his work never finished despite retiring. “Many have told me I failed at retirement,” Chief Fox said. His role as a motivational speaker took on even more meaning through the Covid pandemic as people sought help and through a time when morale was down in the NYPD. In response, he teamed up with Thank You NYPD to make visits to precincts across the city, giving them meals and words of inspiration. The Chief stressed that the people who are supportive of the police should continue showing it as the officers are appreciative.
The Chief himself says he has found a secret to staying a happy person. He repeats to himself: ”I am ever mindful of the purposefulness of the purposeful moments of my purposeful life” as his mantra. “Whatever your method of accessing your mindfulness, we should all access those purposeful moments,” the Chief advised.
Deputy Inspector Ronald McCall of Transit District 23 followed and shared some good news. “We had a pretty busy year. We didn’t take too many crimes, but we solved a lot of them. We haven’t taken a crime since September 3,” he said. So instead, he used his time to go deeper into his background as an amateur boxer, which Chief Fox had mentioned earlier.
Captain Fabara spoke next and announced that Community Affairs officer Claudio Diaz was moving on, following Captain Louron Hall to the 104th Precinct. “A lot of times when people get promoted or move, they take their best people with them and Captain Hall definitely did that,” Fabara said, but he added that there are very promising prospects being interviewed to fill Diaz’s shoes.
Fabara then gave a breakdown of recent crimes in the last 28-day period, bringing mostly good news. “We’re down in murder, rapes and robberies,” he said. Though, there has been an uptick in felony assaults, burglaries and grand larcenies, but grand larceny auto is down. He said the felony assault uptick is due to domestic incidents and there have been arrests in four of the five cases. Of the grand larcenies, Fabara said they mostly involve phone scams and advised people to be aware of such scams.
The floor was then opened to questions. Darrell Wilson, vice president of the Hammels civic, spoke about quality of life issues with people lingering and drinking in the shopping plaza where CVS and Popeye’s is. The captain assured him that they are on top of it. “People are hanging out there, drinking and being disorderly in general. It’s a priority for me and I’ve been taking enforcement actions over there. Our enforcement is up and it’s going to continue to be up,” Captain Fabara said.
The Rockaway Times brought up a recent claim from Whitney Aycock of Whit’s End, who posted on Facebook that an employee was given a summons before the holidays for playing music on his phone. Fabara said he was not aware of such summons. “That’s not something we would do, but that location has been problematic for us,” he said, adding that they have responded to numerous complaints at the business. “We’ve taken enforcement action in accordance with the law,” he said.
Next, a woman brought up a recent article featured in Gothamist, which claimed Captain Fabara was promoted to his position as captain despite having 57 complaints filed against him in his 21-year career, and asked him to address it. Fabara said he can’t speak much on the matter and referred the person to the NYPD press office, DCPI, but did offer some explanation. “Sometimes we deal with situations that are enforcement encounters and even in those situations, we can always have a pleasant interaction as long as the person is cooperative and not combative. Sometimes we have to change up how we’re addressing an incident based on the circumstances but we’re really looking to have a close working relationship with everyone who is willing to work with us,” he said. As Chief Fox is retired, he offered more insight into complaints and defended Fabara, saying that in many instances, 11 different complaints can come from just one incident, and that Fabara has long worked in high enforcement fields including anti-crime and narcotics, where officers make multiple arrests in their careers. “Carlos did not get to the point where he was recommended as a commanding officer without his superiors considering a lot of factors,” Fox said.
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