|Joseph Courtesis, outgoing commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, welcomes Captain Thomas Pascale, who is taking command at the Ozone Park stationhouse.|
By Patricia Adams
Following an emotional farewell delivered by Deputy Inspector Joe Courtesis at the 106 Precinct Community Council meeting last Wednesday, Captain Thomas Pascale, a 16-year veteran of the NYPD, assumed the role as the precincts new Commanding Officer. Courtesis was transferred to his new position as CO of the 105 precinct in Queens Village.
Capt. Pascale’s career as a police officer began in 1994 at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst. Pascale was eventually promoted to sergeant and was stationed at the 106th Precinct from 2000 to 2004, meaning he is no stranger to the community. In 2005 he was transferred to the 115th in East Elmhurst where he remained until being elevated to Captain in 2007. Following the promotion, he went to work with the Narcotics Division where he served until now.
Asked about his new position the Captain was quick to say he feels as though he has come home. “One of the great things is that many of the same officers I worked with while I was here back in 2000 are now in key positions at the precinct.” And in addition to the comfort and familiarity of coming back to the Ozone Park based command, Pascale says he has stepped into a “very well oiled machine.” Speaking about his predecessor, the Captain praised the job done by exiting commander Inspector Courtesis.
Discussing his plans for running the 106, Pascale says that any changes made will be slow and subtle. “We are going to continue to focus on community policing and quality of life issues,” noting that his new command is not plagued with violent crime.
One of the greatest challenges facing his command as well as others throughout the city is the lack of officers. “Like all of the city’s precincts we have to do a lot more with a lot less. Our officers are doing a tremendous amount of work.” According to Pascale, many people don’t realize the added responsibility police have had to assume with the escalation of terrorist threats and the many resources that have to be devoted to counter terrorism.
Despite the routine problems common to all NYPD precincts, Pascale says he is confident that the 106th Precinct will continue on its successful path by continually encouraging the maintenance and formation of community partnerships.
“The most important thing I want the residents in this community to know is that they don’t have to wait for a Council meeting to bring their problems here. We want to know about problems as soon as they happen so that we can continue to address them effectively.”