New CO of the 68th Precinct welcomed with a flourish

April 22, 2014 Helen Klein
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Community groups and elected officials got in line to welcome the 68th Precinct’s new commanding officer, Captain Raymond Festino, at the precinct community council’s April meeting.

There was a standing-room-only crowd in the muster room at the stationhouse, 333 65th Street, as Festino was introduced and then presented with a series of welcome gifts – including a troll from Arlene Rutuelo representing the Norwegian-American 17th of May Parade Committee; an Army coffee mug from Colonel Eluyn Gines, the commander of Fort Hamilton; a Ragamuffin parade pin from Arlene Keating, the secretary of the parade committee; plus a bevy of t-shirts and pens.

“You won’t see this at any other precinct council,” Ilene Sacco, the 68th Precinct Community Council president, told Festino. “We’re going to drive you crazy, but we are going to do it with love.”

“This is the best community in the entire city,” noted Gines. “We’re not just a community. We’re a family, and together we can conquer the world.”

Paul Cassone, the executive director of the Guild for Exceptional Children, concurred. “What makes Bay Ridge really special,” he said, “is the way different community groups work together, look out for each other and take care of each other.”

Among those present were Assemblymember Peter Abbate, who praised the precinct officers for being “on the ball, working hard and responding to the community;” State Senator Marty Golden, who noted, “This is the premier, this precinct. You can tell by the output you get – the number of auxiliaries, the outpouring of appreciation; it is amazing;” and City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who told Festino, “You can see right here the greatness of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.”

As for Festino, he told the assembled crowd, “I promise you I will work as hard or harder than anyone you have ever seen. I will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Besides Festino, who arrived at the 68th Precinct earlier this month, the precinct also has a new executive officer, Captain Isa Abassi, who previously was a helicopter pilot for the NYPD.

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