Volume 79, Number 28 | December 16 - 22 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Christian Grattan

Speaker Christine Quinn, right, handed out the Chamber of Commerce’s “Cop of the Year” award for the Sixth Precinct to, from left, Lieutenant Michael Casey, Police Officer Arthur Truscelli and Detective James Gillespie.

Police officers cop top honors for outstanding work

By Patrick Hedlund

The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce held its sixth annual “Safe Cities, Safe Streets” event on Tues., Dec. 8, to honor the work of local police and recognize the contributions of area merchants to the vitality of Downtown’s business community.

Seven members of the Police Department’s Sixth, Ninth, 10th and 13th precincts — which collectively cover the East and West Villages, Chelsea and Gramercy — received “Cop of the Year” awards for their work in helping reduce crime by more than 8 percent in the area for the year to date.

“This is happening despite the fact that we’ve probably got the lowest number of officers we’ve had in many, many years,” said Raymond Diaz, commander of Manhattan South Patrol Borough, which extends from Midtown to Lower Manhattan. “We know we’re going to have a tough year ahead of us and great challenges ahead, but I think that’s what we’re all about,” he added.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who presented the awards, acknowledged the hard work of police in helping drive down crime as well as keeping the community engaged on a regular basis.

“I know in Greenwich Village and Chel-sea, we don’t want to hear there isn’t a cop to come to the meetings. We don’t want to hear Community Affairs can’t come. We don’t want to hear the Detectives Bureau can’t be there, even if it’s 8 o’clock at night and you started at 6 a.m.,” she said while lauding the department’s commitment to staying in close communication with residents.

From the Sixth Precinct, Lieutenant Michael Casey, Detective James Gillespie and Police Officer Arthur Truscelli received the “Cop of the Year” award for observing, pursuing and arresting two men responsible for a pattern of multiple armed robberies in the West Village in late 2008.

From the Ninth Precinct, Officers Thomas Gallagher and Christopher Delmar earned the award for tracking and apprehending a group of individuals involved in a September gang assault, two of whom unbeknownst to the officers had stabbed and killed a man on the Lower East Side earlier that day.

From the 10th Precinct, Officer Christopher McGee took the honor for arresting 31 individuals during the past year — 14 for felony crimes ranging from robbery and assault to grand larceny — as a member of the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Team, which focuses on the Chelsea nightclub scene.

From the 13th Precinct, Police Officer Leonardo Nimo earned the “Cop of the Year” award for making a slew of arrests this past summer, including busting a carjacker, several burglars and two individuals using stolen credit cards.

“I’m actually lucky to receive an award for something I love to do, so thank you for honoring me,” Officer Nimo said after Quinn handed him his plaque.

Outgoing longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau also received a special honor from the chamber for his nearly half-century of service in New York, including 35 years as D.A. Although Morgenthau did not attend the event, Maria de la Rosa from his office accepted on the district attorney’s behalf.

The luncheon took place at Astor Wines and Spirits on Lafayette St. in the Village, with the day’s food provided by West Village restaurant Philip Marie and Magnolia Bakery.

Lauren Danziger, the chamber’s executive director, reminded the audience of the importance of shopping locally to ensure the neighborhood’s overall health.

“As a network of local businesses working to survive in an extremely tough economic environment,” she noted, “it’s more important than ever to patronize your fellow chamber members and spend money locally.”

Other major sponsors included New York University, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Con Edison, Capital One Bank, Union Square Partnership, Flatiron/23rd St. Partnership, Hudson Guild, Village Alliance and Jefferson Market.

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