Award given at community council meeting; walk-up burglaries a hot topic East side Police Officer Benjamin Paley was given the 19th Precinct's December Cop of the Month award last week for apprehending a burglary suspect after a lengthy foot chase.
The suspect was making a legitimate delivery to a residential building on the Upper East Side when he decided to see if any of the building's apartment doors were unlocked. One tenant was taking out the garbage, and came back to find the suspect in her apartment holding her laptop. When asked what he was doing, the suspect replied, "going to the bathroom."
The suspect dropped the laptop and fled the apartment as the woman called 911. Officer Paley responded and saw a man who matched the suspect's description fleeing the scene.
"He told the individual to stop and the male took off with Officer Paley in pursuit," said 19th Precinct Inspector Ted Berntsen. "[Paley] chased him from 67th Street and Madison to 75th Street and Madison where he was able to apprehend the individual."
Berntsen said the suspect had 25 prior arrests, including three robberies, one rape, three weapons possession charges and a prior burglary. A plaque honoring Officer Paley was given to him by 19th Precinct Community Council President Kathy Jolowicz as his family stood by snapping photos.
Nineteenth Precinct officers warned people attending the meeting that there is a serial burglar targeting walk-ups on the Upper East Side. According to Berntsen, the burglar uses fire escapes to gain access to unsecure apartments and steals mainly Apple products. Unfortunately, police said, they don't have an accurate picture or description of the perpetrator. The one image they do have is of a male in an oversize tan coat wearing a Yankees cap.
Berntsen noted the 19th is the second-largest residential precinct in the city, and as such has a higher rate of property crimes and burglaries than in other areas. The precinct reported 35 burglaries in December compared to 16 in the same period in 2012. The precinct is up 11 burglaries on the year, or 4 percent, compared to 2012. Twenty-five of the burglaries in December took place during the daytime, Berntsen said.
Police said they'll be starting a campaign to alert Upper East Side residents of the recent rash in burglaries and ways they can keep their apartments secure. These tips include securing all windows and doors, installing and using secondary locks, keeping valuables such as laptops out of view of windows, and installing FDNY-approved grates on fire escapes and ground-level windows.
NYPD Hiring Process
Nineteenth Precinct Deputy Chief James Murtagh, who's a commanding officer in the Applicant Investigation Division, was on hand at the community council meeting to talk about the NYPD hiring process.
The division is responsible for conducting background checks on all applicants who apply to be an officer in the NYPD. Murtagh said the division is thorough, and that the number one reason applicants refjected is because they omit a prior offense on their application. When questioned about it, applicants claim they forgot about being arrested, which the division doesn't buy, he said.
Murtagh said the NYPD just hired 650 new police officers, and hired 1,250 six months ago. The NYPD hires one officer for every eight to 10 applicants who pass the city's civil service NYPD test. About 1,500 pass the test every month.
There are four components to the NYPD application process, said Murtagh: medical, psychological, physical (an obstacle course), and the background check. An applicant must have a NYS drivers license, 60 college credits or two years in the military, be at least 21 years of age and no older than 35, and must be a U.S. citizen.
Murtagh said an applicant does not have to be a resident of NYC to be an NYPD officer, but that they do have to live in a contiguous county 30 days after being hired. He urged those who are thinking about applying to the NYPD to do so now as the police department is about two years behind from the time an applicant takes the civil service test to when they start the four-component application process and are hired.