Brooklyn Boro

84th Precinct gets a new community council president

October 23, 2017 By Edward King Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NCO Supervisor Sgt. Johnny Yin with Community Council President Mark Gelbs. Eagle photo by Edward King
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After the passing of the 84th Precinct’s storied Community Council President Leslie Lewis last October, the local police advocacy group had a massive pair of shoes to fill. Luckily, longtime Council board member and 35-year community resident Mark Gelbs relished at the opportunity to take the reins of the Council.

Gelbs, who has been a fixture at all meetings going back a few years, was recently elected to the position to replace Tony Ibelli, another longtime member who served as acting president of the Community Council immediately following Lewis’ death.

“The 84th is a wonderful community and Downtown Brooklyn is very vibrant,” Gelbs said. “I wanted to give back to the community that I’ve lived and loved for the past 35 years.”

Gelbs’ role as head of the Community Council is to act as a liaison between the neighborhoods encompassing the 84th Precinct, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Boerum Hill, Vinegar Hill and Downtown Brooklyn and NYPD. He is determined to follow in the footsteps of his friend Lewis in fostering relationships between the police and the community to utilize initiatives like the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program.

Launched last October, the NCO program is the 84th Precinct’s effort to increase officers’ visibility in the community. The precinct partners eight officers, who are then assigned a sector in the community and an email address so they can be contacted at any time. Since its rollout, Gelbs believes the program to be a continued success.

“Ever since the NCO program was rolled out, I constantly see NCOs around patrolling the neighborhood,” Gelbs said. “Several merchants have even told me they are some of the first to react to conflict. They’re a great asset.”

Gelbs’ friendly disposition, warm smile and inviting green eyes make him as equal of an asset as NCO. Going forward, he, along with the rest of the Council, intends to modernize the Community Council’s approach to interactions with the 84th Precinct and the rate at which issues are recognized and subsequently resolved.

“Leslie was big on crime because he was also the criminal justice liaison to Borough President Marty Markowitz and Eric Adams,” Gelbs said. “In addition helping to reduce crime, I want to protect cyclists, find out what the community has issues with, and minimize those issues immediately utilizing technology.”

Crime Report

During the most recent meeting of the 84th Precinct, which meets regularly at Borough Hall on the third Tuesday of each month, Executive Office Tyrice Miller, second in command at the precinct, went over the local crime report.

Miller reported that there has been a spike in burglaries for the month of September leading into October. According to Miller, the burglaries are primarily residential. Miller pointed out that the precinct has made more arrests for burglaries this year compared to the same time period a year ago, and hopes that is an early sign that the arrests will make an impact on future incidents of burglaries.

“I want to report that there has been a spike in burglaries,” Miller said. “As I was conferred with Captain Melendez, we have arrested 30 individuals as opposed to seven or eight individuals last year which created holes in certain patterns. As we speak, we are trying to come up with different solutions and strategies to try to reduce this crime if not reduce, get rid of it all together.”

Miller also cited a slight increase in grand larcenies, up 3.1 percent overall this year from last year. Community members should be more vigilant in making sure their car doors are locked, he said, especially because the upcoming holiday season always draws more people to the Downtown Brooklyn area.

“We’re in the world of gadgets and electronics, but make sure that before we leave our vehicles that we please lock the car,” Miller said. “There are certain individuals going around checking locks. Out of 100 cars, you’re going to come across one or two that are open. A lot of personal items have been taken.”

Officers of the Month

Fortunately, because of the steadfast dedication and hard work of all the officers, Captain Melendez, President Gelbs, and the 84th Precinct Community Council deemed it a disservice to the officers to identify only one officer for this month.

“It would be unfair to single out only one officer considering all the great work they’ve done,” said Gelbs. “So just for this month, we’ve decided not to name an Officer of the Month as a way to point out that so many officers from the command have performed admirably.”


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