Although Captain Kathleen Fahey is the new commander of the 94th Precinct, she is no stranger to North Brooklyn and its delights. “In the summer, my friends and I would walk from home in Maspeth, Queens, into the 94 to go to lunch (It’s about a five-mile walk). I have been a longtime fan of Peter Pan and the Mount Carmel Feast,” said Fahey.
December 20th was Fahey’s first day as CO of the 94. The very next day was the 4th annual Brooklyn North Sleigh Ride, and she was on board in her captain’s uniform helping spread some holiday joy to Cooper Park Houses.
“Joining the NYPD is most definitely a calling and the women who have answered that call have had a great impact on the organization for the better.”
— Captain Kathleen Fahey
Fahey takes her duty to serve and protect to heart. “My main goals are ensuring that residents of and visitors to the 94 feel safe and secure, and that they know their concerns are our concerns,” she said. She has the gravitas that develops with 24 years in the NYPD and a rise through its ranks, yet she is gracious and approachable, “I strongly encourage community involvement, and I am committed to keeping the community well informed about precinct conditions as they change.” She is also supportive of those she commands, “It is also extremely important to me that the dedicated men and women of the 94th precinct receive the recognition and respect they deserve.”
She views joining the NYPD as a calling. Her sole inspiration for joining the force is her father, who was with the NYPD for forty years. “He started in 1965 in the 25th Precinct and retired in 2005 as chief of Manhattan detectives. I owe any success I have in life to my mother and my father. They taught me the principals of fairness, respect, and loyalty to name just a few,” said Fahey.
Her most challenging experience on the job, was September 11, 2001. She had just started law school at St. John’s, and September 11 is also her son’s birthday. Her father was still on the force in addition to other family members. “It was extremely challenging to process and contain my own human emotion and concern for my loved ones while simultaneously attending to the tremendous and immediate needs of the public. The resiliency of the NYPD and all New Yorkers made me experience pride beyond belief.”
When asked what her favorite thing about the community was Fahey said, “When I interact with the community, I am really impressed by the integration of traditional thought with modern thought. While it may not always be seamless, the willingness to consider that other points of view exist strengthens the community.” She conveyed this referred to the mix of longtime residents with those newer to the community, and how their exchanges churn out a synthesis of ideas, cooperation, and a middle ground that adheres to universal values.
A timely inquiry for Women’s History Month, Fahey was asked to reflect on the career evolution of women in the NYPD. She said, “It has never escaped my notice that I would have been ineligible to become a police officer under the standards my father had to meet to join the NYPD in 1965. The height requirements were eliminated around 1973. [She is 5’ 2”.] Joining the NYPD is most definitely a calling and the women who have answered that call have had a great impact on the organization for the better. Throughout my career in the NYPD, I have been extremely fortunate to work beside and come to know countless members of The FINEST Wonder Women of the Shield. I am truly honored to be the second female commanding officer of the 94th Precinct. Chief Shortell was the first, and I have big shoes to fill.” Chief Shortell was named CO of the 94th in 2002.
“Report crime right away. Reporting crime as soon as possible allows for the preservation and collection of evidence.”
— Captain Kathleen Fahey
In this time of “there’s an app for that”, I asked Captain Fahey’s professional opinion about crime alert apps like the Citizen. She replied, “I have seen both positive and negative outcomes. I have friends call me frequently concerned about something on Citizen App. The apps can help get information out fast regarding areas to avoid, but they can also draw curiosity seekers into potentially dangerous situations and hamper the work of first responders.” Fahey also cautioned, “In my experience, while these apps may have a location correct based on the presence of emergency vehicles, the information published about the reason for their presence is not always accurate. In this regard, the app can serve to perpetuate misinformation, leading to unnecessary stress and alarm.”
“Perpetrators despise victims who are paying attention. They prefer the distracted victim. Always be aware of your surroundings.”
— Captain Kathleen Fahey
When it comes to a community member’s role in fighting crime, Fahey advises, “Report crime right away. Reporting crime as soon as possible allows for the preservation and collection of evidence. It enables the NYPD to uncover patterns that are important to the prevention of crime and apprehension of criminals.”
On how best to avoid crime, Fahey is the voice of experience two-fold: from a police officer point of view and a victim’s perspective. When she was 16 she was held at knife point in her home and asked for money and valuables. She concealed most of the prize possessions but had to give up some pieces. A canary diamond ring her grandmother had given to her mother had to be sacrificed, although not very valuable as far as price, it held and still holds a high sentimental value. She says, “We cannot always avoid crime in New York City, but we can make ourselves a less attractive choice to perpetrators. Perpetrators despise victims who are paying attention. They prefer the distracted victim. Always be aware of your surroundings. Never leave keys in the ignition or key fobs in your vehicle. Do not leave valuables in your vehicles. I encourage the community to reach out to your local Neighborhood Coordination Officers for more information about crime conditions specific to their neighborhood.”
On average a precinct commander stays at a command for two years. “I want to leave the 94th better than it was before, [by building] one relationship at a time. I would feel I’ve been successful,” said Fahey.