There’s a new cop in town and he’s a Brooklyn native.
Captain Joseph Hayward, who previously served as executive officer of four different precincts in Brooklyn South, including the 68th Precinct covering Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, took over from Captain Raymond Festino as commanding officer at the 68 at midnight on Tuesday, March 8, coming from Coney Island’s 60th Precinct.
Festino, in turn, moved on to a post as head of detectives for Brooklyn South after just short of two years at the helm of the 68.
Hayward – who spent seven months at the 68 as XO under Deputy Inspector Richard DiBlasio as commanding officer — also has held the number two job at the 61st Precinct in Sheepshead Bay and the 69th Precinct in Canarsie, and served as a lieutenant in the 75th Precinct in East New York, where he was the impact commander.
He said he is excited to be back in the neighborhood. “I loved working here,” Hayward – the son of a DEA agent who said he wanted to follow in his father’s crime-fighting footsteps — remarked during an interview in his office at the station house, 333 65th Street. “Here, cops and the community get along very well. Everybody here has an interest in keeping the community nice. I look forward to working with everybody and being involved. I want to be here as long as I can.”
“I am sure that returning to the 68th Precinct after I was assigned as the executive officer in 2013 will be the highlight of my career,” Hayward told community members gathered at the station house on Tuesday, March 15 for the community council’s monthly meeting.
Not surprisingly, reducing crime is a number one priority for Hayward, as is addressing quality-of-life offenses and training the officers at the command “to target criminals who constantly commit crime,” and he also said during the interview that he also hopes to have an impact on drug use in the neighborhood, which recently has seen a rise in opioid and heroin use.
To that end, Hayward said, he wants to encourage use of the prescription drop-off box at the precinct house. Anyone can bring no-longer-used or expired prescription medications in, Hayward said, and the police will dispose of them properly.
This helps fill an existing gap, as people are warned not to dispose of prescriptions in ordinary garbage, because of the possibility that people who aren’t supposed to have them could get a hold of them. Disposing of them in the sewer system is also not recommended because of the impact on the environment.
Hayward, a married father of three, also wants to reach out to the precinct’s youngsters with the message “to say no to drugs,” working with the precinct’s youth officer as well as bringing in a popular icon, McGruff the Crime Dog to hammer the message home.
“I want to plant a flag,” Hayward concluded. “When I leave Bay Ridge, I want to leave my mark, that people liked me here and I did a good job.”