68th Precinct Community Council Meeting: New CO Addresses Tire Thefts

68th Precinct Community Council Meeting: New CO Addresses Tire Thefts
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
68th Precinct Community Council meeting on March 14, 2016. (Photo by Benjamin Cohn/Bensonhurst Bean)

The 68th Precinct’s new commanding officer addressed several community concerns — from a string a vehicle thefts in the area to opioid addiction — at the Community Council’s March meeting in Dyker Heights Tuesday.

Introducing himself to Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights residents, Captain Joseph Hayward referred to his recent roles as executive officer in Coney Island and at the 68th Precinct in 2013, and vowed to crack down on a spate of tire and rim thefts in the area.

“I’ve learned a lot over the past two-three weeks, reading the reports, and listening to you guys and I’m ready to help keep crime down,” said Hayward, who replaced Captain Raymond Festino on March 1.

Hayward dodged an inquiry from a Bensonhurst Bean reporter on the seven civil rights lawsuits that have been lodged against him since 2004, offering to talk about it later.

When 68th Precinct Community Council President Ilene Sacco was asked about the lawsuits, she said, “I’m not going to discuss that; I didn’t know him back then.”

As we’ve reported, many of the cases stem from the officer’s time as a lieutenant supervising rookie officers at East New York’s 75th Precinct in 2011 and 2012. Another 2012 incident — during which Hayward allegedly beat a protester with a baton at Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park — was captured on camera by a Reuters photographer. (Read more about the allegations against Hayward here.)

The rest of Tuesday’s meeting focused on how Hayward hopes to curb the neighborhood’s pill and opioid problem by encouraging use of pill drop boxes at local precincts and doing outreach at local schools.

[Additional reporting by Rachel Silberstein]