At his first 50th Precinct Community Council meeting, in June, Capt. Kevin Burke handed out anonymous complaint forms to attendees.
“I may think that crime is down and everything is good, meanwhile you’re having a problem with car alarms or something that might otherwise seem minor to me. I want to hear about that. Things that irk you, but maybe the police can help you [with],” Capt. Burke said of the forms in a June interview with The Riverdale Press.
Lean, with closely cropped light brown hair and blue eyes, Capt. Burke stares directly at each person he addresses.
“I don’t think fighting crime and being rude go hand in hand,” Capt. Burke said in explaining his approach to police work.
It’s knowledge he said he’s gained from more than a decade of work with the New York Police Department.
With a law degree from the City University of New York School of Law and a master’s degree in history from CUNY’s Brooklyn College, he has been assigned to NYPD departments all over New York. He patrolled East Flatbush; he spent a year in South Brooklyn investigating auto larcenies, and time as a lieutenant on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Midtown. As a captain, he worked in three different Harlem precincts. Before coming to the Five-O, he was second-in-command in Washington Heights’ 33rd Precinct.
“No matter where you work, people just want to feel secure in their homes. People throughout the neighborhoods are all looking for the same things. They’re looking for good quality of life,” he said.
One of his most memorable policing experiences, he said, was the left turn that probably saved his life. He and his partner Brandon del Pozo — his predecessor at the helm of the 50th and now Deputy Inspector of Manhattan’s 6th Precinct — had just gotten coffee on September 11, 2001, when a Level Four Mobilization was called over the radio.
His sergeant and eight officers, including Capt. Burke, were sent in a van to Manhattan. Capt. Burke remembers seeing smoke billow from the World Trade Center as they sped toward the buildings.