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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | After taking over as commanding officer of the Sixth Precinct last month, Captain Joseph Simonetti has been making the rounds of the Greenwich Village precinct, getting to know the area’s conditions, merchants and people.
He comes from the Lower East Side’s Seventh Precinct where he was the C.O. for one year. Before that he was the commander at the Midtown South Task Force and executive officer (second in command) at Midtown South and the Ninth Precinct.
Local blog Bowery Boogie said of him, “During his short tenure on the Lower East Side, the straight-talking (and Tony Soprano-sounding) Simonetti…focused on grand larcenies at neighborhood bars (especially in Hell Square) and graffiti busts.”
At the Sixth, Simonetti replaces Inspector Elisa Cokkinos, who retired from the force June 24.
On a recent afternoon, Simonetti was dealing with a vendor situation at Sixth Ave. just south of Eighth St. The man had set out old soul LP’s along the wall of the former Barnes & Noble bookstore and had also put up a table with more books and old records near the corner newsstand.
Detective Jimmy Alberici, a Sixth Precinct community affairs officer, and Simonetti explained to him that he was violating one or more of the myriad regulations pertaining to sidewalk vending.
“I’m very into our officers and members of the department working as much as we can with the community, with the community boards, businesses,” Simonetti said. “Working with the State Liquor Authority, too — it was very beneficial. We work with everyone, that’s our job.”
Of his stint at the Seventh, during which he focused on conditions around the bars, among other things, he said, “We had a very good system in place that helped bring down assaults and addressed the robberies…street robberies.”
Asked about the L.E.S. Dwellers anti-bar-watchdog group, he said, “They were very good. We worked with them a lot.”
Taking over at the Seventh is Captain Steven Hellman, who comes from Midtown South.
Simonetti started off his command at the Sixth having to deal with one of the precinct’s biggest events of the year, the Pride March on Sun., June 28.
“The parade went well,” he said.
As for the fundamentals of police work, he said, the goal is simple: “Our job is to keep the neighborhood safe.”
Diem Boyd, president of the L.E.S. Dwellers, praised Simonetti effusively, saying he “turned things around” at the Seventh.
“He is a really good guy — a straight shooter, says what he means and is very sincere,” she said. “The Seventh Precinct’s loss is the Sixth Precinct’s gain!”