June 26, 2018 By Christian Murray
The NYPD has appointed a new commanding officer for the 112th Precinct.
Captain Jonathan Cermeli, who was raised in Middle Village, has taken the top job after spending most of his 16-year career in various Queens precincts. He replaces Deputy Inspector Robert Ramos who led the command for two years.
Cermeli joined the NYPD after 9/11. He was assigned to the Midtown South precinct in Manhattan as a police officer shortly after leaving the academy.
Cermeli was then promoted to the rank of sergeant and worked in Queens South where he supervised a team of plain clothes officers whose primary role was to take guns off the streets. From there he was promoted to the role of lieutenant and worked in the 114th Precinct in Astoria and the 108th Precinct in Long Island City where he was part of a special operations unit. He was also part of the Queens North counter terrorism unit.
Two years ago, Cermeli was promoted to the role of captain and was appointed an executive office for the 112th Precinct and then had short stints in that role in the 110th Precinct in Corona and 109th Precinct in Flushing. The executive officer is typically the second in command at a precinct.
This is the Cermeli’s first appointment as a commanding officer.
“I’m blessed to be back…and as your commanding officer,” Cermeli said, who was formally introduced at the 112th Precinct Council meeting last night. “This is familiar territory for me and it is a great community– made up of hardworking people who support their police and want to see their neighborhood continue to thrive.”
Cermeli takes over from Ramos at a time when crime continues to fall.
Ramos, who has retired from the NYPD, took command of the 112th Precinct in May 2016 and crime has dropped much like it has across the City. The number of major crimes for the year through June 17 is down 10 percent compared to the same period in 2017.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz was on hand to welcome Cermeli as the commanding officer and field constituent questions. Most of the questions dealt with the redesign of Queens Boulevard and the protected bicycle lanes.
She went into detail as to why she opposes Phase 4 of the Queens Boulevard redesign, which features protected bicycle lanes–requiring the removal of about 200 parking spaces–from Yellowstone Boulevard through to Union Turnpike.
“I travel Queens Boulevard every single day. I just used Queens Boulevard [on my way back from Manhattan]. I didn’t see one bike. I am not against bikes or against bike lanes per se but I am against them on Queens Boulevard.”
She said that she has no doubt that the protected bicycle lanes increase safety. But she said that other changes over the years have made the boulevard safer as well—including the installation of barriers on the boulevard to discourage people from crossing outside of the intersections.
She noted that since 2004 there have been 11 deaths on Queens Boulevard—and while “11 too many’’—that number included pedestrians crossing against the light.
She said that her decision to come out against them was also a reflection of what her constituents have been calling for.
“Every store I go to—even when I get my nails done –business people complain about the bike lanes. Today a doctor called saying that he has lost patients because there is no parking.”
“I have gotten so many calls in my office complaining about the bike lanes – letters, phone calls everything everyday.”
She said that she couldn’t ignore that.
“I feel that it is my obligation to come out against the next phase—and perhaps change the phase that is already there. I’m not saying no bikes but let’s come to a conclusion where everybody is happy—nobody loses business and no business has to shut down.”
Koslowitz has not heard from the mayor since she made her opinion public. When asked what she thought the mayor would do, she said:
“The mayor likes them,” she quipped. It’s part of his Vision Zero.”