BRAVEST AND FINEST
Deputy Inspector Keith Spadaro may not lead a crime-plagued precinct, but community leaders throughout the Upper West Side speak of him as if he does. At the 20th Precinct, which spans West 59th to 86th streets between Central Park and the Hudson River, Spadaro has made communication with the community a priority. He regularly attends precinct community council meetings and is a visible presence in the neighborhood.
For elected officials, there are few people who can keep them better abreast of the neighborhood crime.
Council Member Gale Brewer said she speaks with Spadaro around once a week.
“He’s one of those people who, if you email him, he always gets back to you, even if he’s off duty,” Brewer said.
The transparency and solid communication goes beyond Spadaro’s office, as community members laud the relationship the 20th precinct has with the Upper West Side.
“We call up and we say what’s going on and they’re very cooperative,” said Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal. “That’s because of the example he sets.”
When there is a community issue he can tackle, like a vendor problem or a string of robberies, Spadaro looks for creative solutions tailored to the community he serves, Brewer said.
“He has a practical approach to policing,” Brewer said. “Certainly, those of us on the West Side appreciate it.”
Since his assignment to the 20th precinct as commanding officer in 2006, Spadaro has tried to crack down on crime in and around the Amsterdam Houses, at 205 W. 61st St. and Amsterdam Avenue. He assigned several officers to patrol the housing development, which had a vacuum of security.
“That’s a community that appreciates and needs police presence,” Brewer said.
State Sen. Tom Duane said one of his goals has been improving the quality of life at the Amsterdam Houses, and he appreciates Spadaro’s willingness to collaborate with elected officials.
“The deputy inspector has been a great partner,” Duane said.
In addition to adding police officers to the Amsterdam Houses, Spadaro instituted “vertical sweeps,” in which officers start at the top floor and make their way down the building.
Overall, crime in the 20th precinct has dropped almost 23 percent under Spadaro’s command. Many credit his outreach as a way to keep residents and community leaders updated on situations like graffiti and theft before they turn into serious public safety problems.
“It’s not just working really hard on public safety,” Duane said. “But also, it’s reaching out and putting us all on the same page for a safer West Side.”
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