Volume 81, Number 4 | June 23 - 29, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by Albert Amateau
Brandon del Pozo in his office at the Sixth Precinct.
Commander’s goal is to make Village area ‘safe for everyone’
By Albert Amateau
Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, appointed earlier this month as commanding officer of the Sixth Precinct, covering Greenwich Village, has been around the block.
He has really been halfway around the world as an N.Y.P.D. officer, having spent two years in the Intelligence Division with assignments in Amman, Jordan, and Ankara, Turkey, and three trips to India.
As a rookie cop, del Pozo pounded beats in East Flatbush and Crown Heights in Brooklyn.
He also served with the Internal Affairs Bureau, which investigates departmental corruption, from 2008 to 2009.
“I was relieved to find out that out of all the cases investigated only a few were cause for genuine concern,” del Pozo said in an interview with reporters two weeks ago. “In a lot of cases, the officers were exonerated fully,” he said.
Regarding the pejorative reference to Internal Affairs as the “Rat Squad,” del Pozo said, “No cop should have a problem with rooting out corrupt officers.”
In 2009, del Pozo became commanding officer of the 50th Precinct, covering Riverdale in the Bronx, where he served before coming to the Village.
Married and father of a 3-year-old son, del Pozo makes his home in Putnam County. He relaxes by hiking, rock climbing and skiing in the winter.
Del Pozo was raised in Brooklyn by a Jewish mother and a Cuban father.
“I got to celebrate all the gift-giving holidays,” he quipped.
He graduated from the elite Stuyvesant High School in 1992 and went to Dartmouth where he majored in philosophy. Asked how philosophy relates to being a policeman, he said, “Everything you do in policing has a moral as well as legal dimension, whether you’re aware of it or not. It has to be grounded on solid principles.”
He became interested in the Police Department in 1996 in his senior year in Dartmouth.
“It was the beginning of positive change in the city from the bad conditions in the 1970s and ’80s,” he said. “I thought the Police Department was helping the city to get back on its feet and I wanted to be a part of that.”
He also had been interested in law as a career at one point, but said he concluded it was “too much mind, not enough hands.”
Del Pozo spent part of his first week in the Village visiting local institutions, including Community Board 2, The New School and New York University.
The presence of great academic institutions is one of the things del Pozo especially appreciates in his new precinct.
“I like the idea that you can walk down the street and meet some of the most serious thinkers in the country,” he said.
Del Pozo also thinks the academic institutions owe much of their popularity and success to the Sixth Precinct. He noted that N.Y.U. has become a major student destination, especially in the last decade when the city has become safer, partly through the efforts of police and specifically the Sixth Precinct.
“The goal is make the city safe for everyone, residents, students, bar- and clubgoers, people who come for dining, and tourists from all over the world who come to visit the World Trade Center site,” he said.
Speaking of the precinct’s recent investigations of the weekend disturbances on Christopher St., and complaints about the police’s efforts by FIERCE — the gay and transgender youth advocacy group — del Pozo said that policing the street is intended to make the neighborhood safe for everyone, including the members of FIERCE.
He said he appreciated the challenge of policing a neighborhood where one can encounter “the most diverse cross section of humanity of any place in the city on a Friday night on Christopher St.”
Nevertheless, regarding the recent allocation of extra police resources to Christopher St. on weekends, including a mounted police detail, he said he was happy to have the help.
“The Police Department is successful because it’s adaptable and it will adapt to whatever conditions are on Christopher St.,” he said.