New Police commander meets residents

| 03 May 2016 | 12:44

After the demotion and transfer of the 19th Precinct’s previous deputy inspector, James Grant, amid charges of corruption, around 40 people showed up to the precinct’s community council meeting Monday night to meet his replacement. Deputy Inspector Clint McPherson was welcomed by City Councilman Ben Kallos and introduced to generous applause.

“When I heard about what happened, I actually remarked to my staff that if there is one commanding officer that I wanted ... if we got lucky enough to have Clint McPherson as our C.O. that would be amazing,” Kallos said.

Nick Viest, the precinct council’s president, echoed those sentiments before McPherson took the podium himself, saying the precinct was “very happy to have him here.”

“He understands this precinct because he’s been handling very similar issues,” Viest said.

McPherson, a 23-year police veteran, then gave a short speech emphasizing his gratitude for the opportunity, and summarized his history with the NYPD. He has spent most of his career in Brooklyn, though he was last stationed at the 17th Precinct, which serves the Midtown area, and led the department’s counterterrorism unit for a time.

He wasted no time in getting right to the heart of a major concern for Upper East Side residents: “From what I understand, bikes are a big problem,” he said. “I think the 19th precinct is the only command in the city that writes and confiscates more bicycles than the 17th precinct. I think the officers here … are aggressively pursuing it. And my goal is to continue that.”

McPherson then took questions from attendees about everything from sidewalk sheds to street vendors. Jody Schneider, a member of the precinct’s executive council and the East Sixties Neighborhood Association, wanted to know when residents would get a chance to use the NYPD’s shredder truck and whether the precinct was still accepting donated cell phones for women in shelters. “We’re not, but it’s something we can look into,” McPherson said in response to the latter. As for the shredder truck, a visit is in the works.

Grant, the precinct’s prior commander, was among four high-ranking police officials placed on desk duty last month as part of a federal corruption investigation into the activities of two fundraisers for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The police officials were ensnared in a wide-ranging federal inquiry into the fundraising activities of two men, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremiah Reichberg, both of whom contributed to Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign in 2013 and were later part of a 70-person committee planning the mayor’s inaugural celebration. Both men sought out associations with high-ranking police officials as merit badges of sorts.