Connecting to Community

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:03

Knowing he wanted to find a career that allowed him to help people, Michael Lombardi was inspired to become an NYPD Police Officer after hearing stories from his two older cousins who were working as a cops in Staten Island. His career took off very quickly after graduating from the police academy in September of 2004, leading him to his current position of Community Affairs Advisor.

Always considering himself a people person, Lombardi immediately enjoyed connecting with people in the community. He has been assigned to the 19th Precinct since 2005, and has really gotten to know the diverse Upper East Side community.

"I like to talk to people, I could talk to a wall if I had to," he said. "It's a good way to get to know people, and I've learned that it's the best way to really find out what's going on." He has gained extensive experience patrolling the Upper East Side, handling things ranging from a building explosion to working with the local community board members on issues of traffic safety.

His office is filled with visual proof of the dozens of daily tasks he has as Community Affairs Advisor, set to a non-stop pace of phone calls and emails that he receives 24/7. If he has time to escape, Lombardi likes to grab some coffee at Stargate Diner on East 86th street and people watch. He catches up on current events during his commute from Long Island, where he lives with his wife and newborn baby boy.

Since his current position requires more administrative responsibilities, Lombardi doesn't spend as much time "on the ground" as he did in the beginning of his career. He makes sure to stay connected to the community by constantly attending the 79th Street Neighborhood Association, and responding to every concern that might land on his desk.

"The biggest difference between the start of my career, back then it was my job to hand out tickets, or summons after something had gone wrong. Now it's about fixing the situation before it happens, and now I'm the guy working to make sure things run smoothly," he explained. "I'm constantly asking the question, 'What can we do to help?' and trying to listen to what the neighborhood wants."

Lombardi has seen change in his 10 years of patrolling the neighborhood, and he applies that experience to his approach as the Community Board Advisor. Most notably, the completion of the 2nd Avenue subway has attracted younger people to live in the traditionally older community. A goal of his has been to get the younger residents involved in the area through the various community boards and council meetings.

Walking through the 19th precinct, Lombardi brought an infectious smile to anyone that crossed his path. He brings a young fresh perspective to his position, constantly brainstorming ideas on how to better the community, and genuinely listening to needs of Upper East Side residents.