Captain William E. Glynn took over as commanding officer of the 94th Precinct on November 22nd, and formally introduced himself to Greenpoint at the Community Council Meeting on December 6th. At the meeting, he explained that his personal philosophy of community-oriented policing comes down to “names, faces, places,” and since he arrived, he has been getting to know members of the community. I sat down with Captain Glynn on Monday to learn more about his career as an officer, and about his vision for the future of the 94th.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
GP: You said at the Community Council Meeting that several generations of your family have served in the NYPD. Do you think of the Department as your home professionally or familially?
Captain Glynn: I guess it’s a home away from home. I certainly spend a lot of time here. I’ve been in the police department for almost 15 years. July will be 15 years. Like you mentioned, my father served in the police department for 30 years as a homicide detective, and my grandfather, before him, came on in 1948. He was a sergeant. My brother is currently in the police department as well, so it’s somewhat of a family business.
GP: This is your first posting as captain. Has that been a goal of yours in terms of a career within the department?
Captain Glynn: Well, as a young man, even as a kid, I always knew I wanted to serve in law enforcement. I what capacity, I didn’t know. It’s tough to ask a young man or woman, where do you see yourself in 15 years? Did I envision this? No. It’s beyond what I really imagined. To be sitting here as the commanding officer of a precinct in the New York City Police Department to me is a great honor and privilege, so it’s beyond what I even imagined for myself.
GP: And you’ve served in Brooklyn and Manhattan before, correct?
Captain Glynn: And Queens. I was the Executive Officer of the 75th Precinct for the past year. I was the Executive Officer of the 83rd Precinct for the year prior. I was in the 100th Precinct in Queens as a lieutenant for 3 years. I was a sergeant back in Brooklyn again in the 79th Precinct for 4 years, and I was a police officer in Manhattan South, in the 9th Precinct, Midtown South briefly, and also Manhattan South borough crime for a total of 5 years.
GP: Wow! Did you have any knowledge of the 94th Precinct specifically before you were assigned here?
Captain Glynn: I was aware of the 94th Precinct because the way it works in the rank of Captain, often times you have Duty Coverage. On that Duty Coverage, you cover — in this particular borough, there’s 10 precincts in Brooklyn North, so as duty captain, I’ve been here, I’ve responded to incidents here, so I had a familiarity with the precinct. Not in depth of course, because I didn’t work here, but I was familiar with the precinct.
GP: And as the new captain, what are you looking to learn about the precinct right now as you get started?
Captain Glynn: Well, initially, first and foremost is to really get to know the community. Get to know the businessmen, the home owners, the principals, the elected officials, the clergy. Really anyone and everyone who’s a stakeholder in this community. So my NCOs, my Community Affairs Officers, have been instrumental in that, and I really just want to start establishing relationships that will open lines of communication to work with these people going forward.
GP: And how do you personally foresee doing that?
Captain Glynn: Very simply, getting out there, and shaking hands, and saying hello. Reaching out to the officers and the supervisors who’ve been here for a period of time, and with established relationships already, and having them make the introduction. Through the various groups that are active within the neighborhood; through the Community Council. Really, any way possible that I can, I’m kind of figuring out as I go. And that’s the goal. The ultimate goal is to make those relationships.
GP: I know that you helped pioneer the NCO [Neighborhood Coordination Officers] program in another precinct, or were part of a pilot program.
Captain Glynn: Well, I can’t take credit for pioneering the NCO program! When the NCO program initially rolled out, there were four pilot precincts. I believe two in Manhattan North, and the 100th and the 101st Precinct in Queens. So I was there from the very beginning as a lieutenant, and I’ve seen it be successful. I’ve seen the growing pains that it goes through, of course, the cultural changes that are required, but I’ve dealt with that once before, and I saw it really succeed — I think beyond most people’s initial anticipation for it, in the 75th Precinct, where shootings are way down, homicides are down, thank God, and the officers are getting their off-air time. They’re meeting people in the community, and they’re establishing relationships that prove to be helpful in terms of getting first hand dialog about what the issues are, whatever they may be. And also, the community helping us when God forbid we have a shooting, or a robbery, or something along those lines — where people out there, they know who they can reach out to because they know their NCOs. They know their steady sector officers. I’ve seen it succeed, so I have full faith that it’s going to succeed here.
GP: So what can members of the Greenpoint community do to invest in those relationships with their NCO officers?
Captain Glynn: Well, absolutely. There’s quarterly meetings held by each NCO officer, so please! I beg and encourage everyone to attend those meetings. We have a presence on twitter and facebook as well. And really just stopping and talking with your individual officer. Strike up a conversation, and get to know who patrols their neighborhood. There’s also a website, Build the Block, where you could actually look up geographically where you live, and who your NCO is. And their email addresses are available, so you could start a dialog that way. There’s also CompSat2.0, which isn’t necessarily interactive, but it shows you, at least statistically what’s going on in your neighborhood in terms of crime and quality of life conditions. So there are ways to get involved.
GP: You’ve mentioned creating wonderful relationships here. But there has been some tension between the police and the community here over a feeling of unresponsive law enforcement. Do you see yourself as a fresh start, or could you be that for the community?
Captain Glynn: I like to think so. I have faith in myself and my ability to continue to build relationships in the neighborhood. I said at the Community Council Meeting, and I honestly believe it. It was told to me as a young man, and when I first came on at the police department, by my father, who I believe was told by his father: you treat everyone how you’d want your family members to be treated, and you really can’t go wrong. I think if I could instill that in the officers, which it already exists, but maybe we have to continue to reach out more if it’s not being felt in the community. If it’s not being felt in the community then I’ll continue to instill that in everyone, and I think if we go by those basic principles, then we really should be fine going forward.
GP: I know you mentioned at the Community Council Meeting a lot of really wonderful things that the precinct has done. I wonder if you can speak about some of those things, that people can be proud of.
Captain Glynn: Well there’s the toy drive, of course. There’s the Blue Christmas. On Thanksgiving, some of the auxiliary officers who volunteer their time went out with some of our full-time police officers and they handed out meals to needy people in the community, so there’s a lot of good things going on right now. I was speaking to my NCOs the other day, and they’re working on a mural project. They’re actually going to paint the garage right here on the precinct. They also took it upon themselves to plant a garden with the mother of a fallen fire department lieutenant, I believe, who died on 9/11. So there’s outreach going on all over the place. We try to highlight that via social media, but a lot of it is done because it’s the right thing to do. It’s not necessarily for the accolades or the praise, it’s just what police officers do on a daily basis.
GP: I’m glad to hear that. Thank you. Is there anything that I didn’t touch on that you would want readers to know?
Captain Glynn: I think you pretty much covered all of it. Just the bottom line is, we as the 94th Precinct, from the rookie police officer right up to myself, we’re a part of this community. We want to continue to be a part of this community. We can’t succeed, we can’t continue to drive crime down, without community input, without community cooperation. We need each other. And I just want them to know that we’re here to serve them, to address the needs, whatever they may be.
GP: Thank you for your service.