On Tuesday, March 23, the Queens Borough Safety Patrol-Shmira unveiled a fleet of three vehicles that will now be used to monitor our communities. A sizable crowd stood for the ceremony and ribbon-cutting in Forest Hills. “Your presence today attests to the value and significance of Queens Shmira as a community service,” said founder Hiski Meirov.

The Queens division of Shmira was founded just about six years ago, following a string of arson attacks in Forest Hills. “Our main purpose is being an extra set of eyes and ears to the police department and being an extra set of hands for the community,” continued Meirov.

The event was attended by a contingent of New York City’s Finest, including local officers and members from the department’s community affairs. Shmira has worked with the NYPD on numerous occasions and is available to the public for search and rescue operations, emergency services, or public safety matters. Commanding Officer Captain Joseph E. Cappelmann of the 112th Precinct thanked the organizers and explained, “Policing is a shared responsibility.” The commanding officer acknowledged that Shmira has been of assistance to his officers. “We cannot do our job without your support. We look forward to building further trust within the community.”

Queens Shmira heavily serves the neighborhoods of Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens Hills, and Briarwood. These neighborhoods are part of Council District 24, where James F. Gennaro was recently elected into the City Council. “I applaud your commitment to service to the community and to safety,” said Gennaro. He took time to attend the inauguration because he realized the importance and commitment of QBSP-Shmira and how its members will drop everything to respond to the community’s needs. “When I was a Council Member previously for 12 years, I chose to be on the Public Safety Committee, and I got a close familiarity with the work of the department. I am happy to say that in my last election, I was endorsed by the PBA and I am very proud of that.” Gennaro then offered a “blood oath” of support for QBSP-Shmira, a truly beautiful sentiment.

Avraham Pinkhasov joined Shmira at its inception. “I felt that it is something that is a must for anyone raised in this community. For the last two years, I have been honored to be a community partner at the local precinct and have grown close to the local NCOs,” said Pinkhasov.

Shmira members, now totaling more than 100, give of their time completely voluntarily, never letting the outside elements hinder their efforts. Members include entrepreneurs who leave their places of business to assist as needed.

“The necessity for a fleet of vehicles became apparent as violence, protests, and vandalism plagued New York City,” noted Meirov. In turn, the organization launched a grassroots collection effort that brought in just about $150,000, allowing for the purchase of the cruisers and safety gear. “Our safety is our priority, and supporting the NYPD is important, as they are the backbone for our safety,” Meirov concluded.

The event was also acknowledged by the offices of Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal, City Council candidates David Aronov and Avi Cyperstein, a rabbinic delegation from the hosting shul that also provides office space for Shmira, community liaisons from the FDNY, Chaverim of Queens, Chazaq, and Misaskim of Queens. Shmira is proud to be a partner alongside the leading organizations, government agencies, and elected officials who all act in the name of safety and protection.

To learn more about Shmira, visit www.qbspshmira.org, and for emergencies, never hesitate to dial 718-329-4444.