‘Queens Marine’ takes the reins at the 63rd Precinct

‘Queens Marine’ takes the reins at the 63rd Precinct
The old and the new: Deputy Inspector Michael Deddo (left) shakes hands with his replacement as the commanding officer of the 63 Precinct, Captain John Rowell.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

There’s a new sheriff in Marine Park — and he’s from Queens!

Captain John Rowell, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, has been tapped to replace Deputy Inspector Michael Deddo as commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct. Deddo was reassigned to lead the 66th Precinct in Borough Park earlier this month.

Introducing himself to the 63rd Precinct Community Council for the first time last Wednesday, Rowell admitted that he had some pretty big shoes to fill.

“The inspector did groundbreaking work in the 63rd Precinct, especially with the community. I hope to follow in his footsteps,” Rowell said, claiming that his knowledge of Brooklyn was limited.

The Captain said he spent most of his time with the NYPD in Queens — so much so that his officers jokingly refer to him as “the Queens Marine.”

He spent nearly a year heading operations at the 108 Precinct in Long Island City before being asked to head a crime analysis unit at police headquarters in Manhattan.

“I’ve gotta learn Brooklyn,” the Captain said, “but I’m learning it pretty quickly.”

Following the attacks on 9/11, Rowell spent four years in the NYPD’s Counter Terrorism Unit, learning skills that include risk assessment and identifying community threats.

The attacks on the World Trade Center happened more than a decade ago, but Rowell said residents must continue to remain vigilant, even in leafy neighborhoods like Marine Park and Mill Basin.

“We need to stay focused,” he told council members. “Let’s not forget about our responsibility to report. Counter terrorism is near and dear to my heart, I lost my cousin at the World Trade Center.”

Captain Rowell is coming into a precinct where major crimes including robbery, burglary, and car thefts are down from last year, a trend which he attributes to Deputy Inspector Deddo’s efforts.

“I kind of walked into that success,” he said. “I walked into a great crime reduction program that the inspector put together and I want to keep that going.”

Yet Rowell admitted that his officers have to focus on property crimes, which in Marine Park typically comes in the form of tire and rim thefts, and crimes of opportunity — thefts the community can help defend against, he said.

“Keep your property on your person, don’t leave it in your car,” said Rowell. “We definitely need your help with that.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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