Change of command in Brooklyn South

Assistant Chief Thomas M. Chan will be taking the reins of theNYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South (PBBS), as Chief Joseph Fox,who led the 13-precinct division for the past 11 years, is movedupstairs to head up the NYPD’s citywide Transit Bureau.

Fox, a 30-year NYPD veteran who received his third star onTuesday, August 2, during a ceremony at One Police Plaza, succeedsretiring Chief Raymond Diaz in assuming oversight over the city’ssubway system.

Fox is renowned through southern Brooklyn for having reinventedrelations between police and residents. In addition, during histenure there, Crime fell by more than 50 percent, said PoliceCommissioner Raymond Kelly. Securing the subways is one of ourhighest priorities, and the system will be in capable hands withChief Fox.

Fox said the move was an exciting, yet difficult, one, becausehe would be leaving behind the cops and communities he has nurturedfor more than a decade.

The day he learned of his promotion, he said, was Probably oneof the most emotionally mixed and intense and exciting days of mylife. I love watching the men and women of the NYPD serve thecommunities of Brooklyn South so well.

It is a lot to move on from, Fox added. Having said that,there are as many members of the NYPD in the Transit Bureau who dowhat the officers of Brooklyn South do, and I am going to get towitness their noble service to our city as well. That’s theexciting part.

For Chan, who is leaving his post as the commanding officer ofthe NYPD School Safety Division, the move is just as exciting.

It feels a bit like coming home, the 28-year NYPD veterannoted, recalling that before joining the NYPD, he served as avolunteer with BRAVO, Bay Ridge’s volunteer ambulance corps, and asa paramedic at Lutheran Medical Center. Having the opportunity tocome back here is wonderful. There are great communities here, andI’m looking forward to meeting and working with all of them.

Those same leaders said that they would miss Fox, but werelooking forward to working with Chan.

Chief Fox is an absolute gentleman, said Lou Trimboli,president of the 62nd Precinct Community Council. He tookcommunity councils that were good and kicked them up to a wholeother level because of his involvement.

Fox has been an inspiration by helping residents understandthe police’s role, added Councilmember Sara Gonzalez, stressingthat such comprehension is a key ingredient in improving relationsand thus fighting crime.

It’s a great loss to our community, but Transit is one of theareas that needs a good supervisor, said State Senator MartyGolden. Joe will keep us safe.

At the same time, community leaders said they were excited towork with Chan, whose prior ties to the community impressedCouncilmember Vincent Gentile. It’s really something to see hisprogress through the ranks to be chief of Brooklyn South. I’mreally pleased that he has that familiarity with our neighborhood,he said.

It’s kind of exciting, agreed Denny Chen, events coordinatorfor the 72nd Precinct Community Council, about the idea of havingan Asian American police officer as chief. With his pastexperience in Manhattan’s Chinatown community and the whole city, Ithink it’s good. He can understand the neighborhood.

Chan promised to continue Fox’s legacy of connecting cops andcommunity. With school safety, we provided a safe environment sochildren can learn… and as a paramedic, I had the opportunity tosee how the police worked [with people], he said. I willcertainly need the support of the community [because] workingtogether is how we get crime to decline. It’s a partnership.

I have big shoes to fill, he admitted. If I can do just asmall part of what Chief Fox has done, than I think I will havedone a lot.

Heather J. Chin contributed reporting to thisarticle.

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