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70th Police Precinct salutes terrific trio - Officers’ foot chase leads to busts, recovery of loaded gun and illegal drugs

A foot chase leading to a cache of illegal drugs, a loaded gun and several arrests netted a 70th Precinct anti-crime team “Cop of the Month” certificates.

Receiving the awards for the bust at the precinct’s recent community council meeting were Sgt. John Kocher, and police officers Chris Madison and Gerald Cucchiara.

The incident unfolded at about 2 a.m., December 26, when the three plainclothes officers spotted a suspicious male on Flatbush Avenue near a section of the thoroughfare that’s been having some commercial burglaries.

When the three approached the suspect, he took off. They chased him up to the second floor of a nearby apartment building, where they apprehended him as he entered an apartment.

Once in the apartment, the three cops also found the loaded gun and illegal drugs.

“These three police officers were able to lock up both the suspect they were chasing and some of the residents in the apartment,” said Dep. Inspector Ralph Monteforte, commanding officer of the 70th Precinct.

Monteforte said the main focus of the anti-crime team is to reduce violent crime on the street. This could mean keeping someone from getting shot, thwarting street robberies or curbing felony assaults, he said.

“A lot of it is observation like this [arrest],” said Monteforte. “They go in areas where there is an increase in crime or they look for specific bad guys that have warrants on them.”

Monteforte said that other times, anti-crime teams may hear a radio run, and since they work in unmarked cars, it is easier for them to respond and sneak up on somebody that may have committed a crime.

“So they do a little of everything. The best cops in the precinct make it to the anti-crime team,” he said.

Monteforte said cops make the elite unit through recommendations from police supervisors.

“Whenever a position opens, recommendations are made by the sergeants and lieutenants to me, and then we discuss it and the best person gets the job,” Monteforte said.

In this precinct, there are three anti-crime teams made up of a sergeant and five police officers deployed at strategic times and places, he added.

While an important cog of any police work, Monteforte emphasized that all the teams in the precinct are equally important, whether domestic violence officers that work with that type of crime or community affairs who work with the community.

“It’s [anti-crime] not the most important component, but if you want to put dangerous into the mix, I would say so,” said Monteforte.

“I mean they take the most guns off the street without incident. So that’s a very dangerous job,” he added.

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