The “top cop” of the 60th Precinct has traded the sands of Coney Island for the concrete spires of Manhattan’s 1 Police Plaza.
Inspector Robert Johnsen, who has been leading the cops protecting residents of Coney Island and Brighton Beach for upwards of seven years — one of the longest leadership stints on record — was transferred to police headquarters late last week, where he will be a part of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism unit.
His departure has created ripples in Patol Borough Brooklyn South’s leadership structure.
Officials said that Inspector Peter DiBlasio, commanding officer of the 66th Precinct in Borough Park, has been tapped to replace Johnsen in Coney Island. In turn, Deputy Inspector John Sprague of the 62nd Precinct in Bensonhurst has been asked to take charge in the 66th Precinct.
The now empty desk in the 62nd Precinct will be filled by Deputy Inspector James Rooney, who was the commanding officer of Transit District 2 in lower Manhattan. Before that, Rooney was an executive officer in the 66th Precinct, officials said.
The new positions were put in place Monday, officials said.
The first of its kind in the nation, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly created the NYPD Counterterrorism Unit in 2002 after realizing that New York City could not solely rely on the federal government for its defense.
The Counterterrorism Bureau is designed to “develop innovative, forward-looking policies and procedures to guard against the threat of international and domestic terrorism in New York City.”
To do that the NYPD puts uniformed counterterrorism executives in the rank of Inspector — like Johnsen — in positions to lead borough and citywide counterterrorism activities.
It was unclear exactly what role Johnsen, a 27-year veteran of the NYPD, would play in the Counterterrorism team as this paper went to press.