The 112th Precinct is taking more steps to engage the Forest Hills community with an open house next month.
The precinct announced the event – the first of its kind – for sometimes in June so police officers could invite residents inside and show them how they work on a day-to-day basis. 112th Precinct Capt. Thomas Conforti said it would be a great opportunity for the people in the community to see the latest projects at the precinct.
The date has not yet been solidified, but Conforti confirmed it would be sometime in June.
Open house tours will include hands-on looks at the daily happenings of inside the Forest Hills-based precinct, including Conforti’s latest social media initiative. Conforti undertook the task of joining Twitter to engage the mid-Queens community and keep residents informed. So far, he said, the project has been a success.
“We have realized that not everyone can make it to our monthly Community Council meetings for various reasons,” Conforti said. “But we are still working to give people an opportunity to interact, and Twitter is one way to do that.”
For weeks, Conforti has been upping his Twitter presence by sending out to-the-minute updates on anything happening in the precinct. Some of his tweets have included anything from domestic dispute calls to the lighter side of police work, arranging an Easter egg hunt for the community on Easter Sunday in April.
The 112th Precinct was one of the first in the entire city, including the 106th Precinct of southern Queens, to join the New York Police Department’s Twitter pilot program.
His Twitter campaign was only the beginning of Conforti’s efforts in showing the residents what it is like to live the day-to-day life of a police officer in Queens. He said the precinct agreed to open its doors for an open house in June to give another perspective of the same idea.
“A lot of people in this community want to get involved,” Conforti said. “One of the precinct’s top priorities is always positive communication.”
Conforti said a big part of the open house would be to take another opportunity in teaching community residents how to use and understand Twitter. He has been pushing the social medium heavily since becoming an active user under the NYPD pilot program because of its ability to connect people in seconds, he said.
Heidi Chain, president of the 112th Precinct Community Council, said anything to engage the community was good news. Chain teamed up with Conforti and the rest of the Council to help broadcast the group’s first ever online meeting in December, adding another chapter of engagement.
“It’s positive in all directions. The more interaction and the more communication between the community and the police department, the more information that we can get out there,” she said. “We will all be better off.”
The open house will also offer some activities for children, Conforti said, because he wanted to encourage families to be part of the precinct’s events.
By Phil Corso