Volume 23, Number 5 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 11 - 17, 2010

Downtown Express photo by Albert Amateau

Captain Ed Winski

Changing of guard as Winski is 1st Precinct chief

By Albert Amateau

Captain Edward J. Winski, who became commanding officer of the First Precinct at the beginning of last month, brings 17 years of experience to the job and a familiar name to the precinct covering Lower Manhattan, including Hudson Square, Soho and Tribeca. His brother, Peter, now retired, was commanding officer of the precinct nine years ago.

Edward Winski, 44, replaces Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, who, after five years was transferred to the Manhattan South Borough Command in charge of special projects. Winski has been getting familiar with the neighborhood since arriving at the precinct on May 5.

“I attended the Community Board 1 meeting in May when they passed the resolution on the mosque at the World Trade Center,” he said. “There was lots of press and we had a little more police presence than usual. It was lively — raucous even — but no one crossed the line into illegal behavior. There were no arrests. The leadership of the board did a good job of controlling the meeting,” Winski said.

Before arriving at the First Precinct, Winski was executive officer of the Midtown South Precinct, which includes Times Square.

“The X.O. is the commanding officer’s right-hand man,” Winski said. “He also has special duties, depending on the precinct. In Midtown South, the X.O. handles the precinct’s traffic enforcement and is also in charge of grand larcenies, one of the major crime categories,” he said.

“About 75 percent of the felony complaints in Midtown South are grand larcenies. It’s about the same in the First Precinct,” he noted. Crime generally, including grand larcenies, has been going down in the First Precinct over the past five years under Bologna, Winski said.

“It’s still going down — 15 percent so far in 2010. That’s a big number after all these years of crime reductions and increases in the residential population,” he observed.

“Speaking of changing neighborhoods, I was a lieutenant for five years in the Ninth [Precinct], in charge of special operations from 2001 to 2006,” Winski said, referring to the precinct that covers the East Village. One assignment that stands out from those years involved demonstrations in Tompkins Square Park and at St. Mark’s Church on E. 10th St. during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Winski also served in Chelsea’s 10th Precinct from 2006 to 2007 in charge of the nightclub detail.

“I arrived there three days after a girl who patronized one of the clubs was abducted and killed in New Jersey,” he recalled. The increased police presence in the West Chelsea club district has improved the situation, he observed. “Many of those clubs went out of business; they get hot, then something new opens and the old ones close,” he noted.

Before serving in the East Village, Winski was a sergeant in the 108th Precinct from 1998 to 2001, covering the largely industrial neighborhoods of Long Island City and Sunnyside in Queens.

He entered the Police Academy in 1993 — three years after his younger brother Peter — and served as a rookie patrolman in East Harlem. Winski also did a tour of duty from 1997 to 1998 with the Narcotics Division in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“There was no shortage of work,” he said in cryptic regard his tour as a narcotics investigator.

Quality-of-life issues and community relations are high on Winski’s First Precinct priority list.

“We have vendor issues — legal and illegal — in Battery Park and on Canal St., including trademark infringement,” Winski noted.

The precinct has two community councils, one for the Financial District, which meets at a different location each month, and another for the residential neighborhoods, which meets monthly at the stationhouse at Ericsson Place and Varick St.

Winski said the 174 officers and 23 sergeants in the precinct have proved to be up to the challenge of covering mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods as distinct as Tribeca, Soho and Hudson Square.

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