Some of it was magic, some of it was tragic. At the 20th Precinct on Thursday at 7pm, citizens, police officers and Captain Zuber came together to discuss a variety of topics.
The evening kicked off with a special thanks and dedication to Dominick Vassallo, who is retiring after 32 years on the force. “All of us congratulate you and wish you good luck. You will be truly missed, this is not good bye,” said Sean Morales, President of the Community Council, as a statue was given to Vassallo to commemorate all of his efforts with the NYPD.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who was unable to attend due to an event of her own, sent a representative to announce the proclamation that Thursday, October 28, 2021 would officially be Detective Dominick Vassallo Appreciation Day. The room erupted in cheers. “During his 32-year career, Detective Vassallo has been a pillar of the UWS during the city’s most difficult times,” announced Brewer’s representative, saying Dominick was best known for his “large heart, his friendliness, humor, resourcefulness and responsiveness.”
Then the night took a tough turn, as the shooting that took place just hours before at 71st and Broadway was discussed. Captain Zuber took the podium and said the incident was set off by a dispute between two small groups of “what appeared to be teenagers, maybe young 20s.” Zuber says at least one person had a gun, and the one bullet which was fired struck the innocent bystander. Zuber and his team are taking a proactive approach and visiting schools in the area to explore any and all leads to find the gunman.
Click play to hear some comments from Zuber.
Regarding the recent robbery at the LensCrafters at 70th and Broadway, Zuber simply said that “multiple cases” were open.
The Captain went on to proactively address the “elephant in the room,” surprised that nobody had mentioned the upcoming mandate for NYPD officers to get vaccinated – and what that could potentially mean for the 20th Precinct. Zuber said the 20th is currently 36 police officers short from where they were Feb. 14 2020. “It’s a struggle. The fact they’re doing this well is phenomenal,” said Zuber, adding that the UWS precinct is lucky as they don’t see the same level of violence as other neighborhoods.
After praising his officers for remaining with the precinct throughout the pandemic – putting their lives at risk to serve the Upper West Side and the City – he noted that “If we were to lose, as some people say, 20-25% of our strength next week, that’s a problem.”