After more than four and a half years serving as head of the 61st Precinct, Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas said goodbye to the community at last week’s Community Council meeting, and welcomed the new head of the command, Captain John Chell.

Mastrokostas is joining the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau, charged with the investigation and prevention of organized crime in New York City. The bureau’s work helped bust the massive 36-person auto insurance fraud ring, mostly based in Southern Brooklyn.

“[I have] a lot of great memories, a lot of great support [from those in the community],” Mastrokostas said. “I’m going to miss everybody here, but what makes things easier moving on is knowing that I’m leaving the place in good hands.”

Mastrokostas introduced Chell – pronounced “shell” – during the meeting, who ran through his bona fides: Brooklyn born-and-raised; 18-and-a-half years of service on the police force; worked his way up from beat cop, to detective, to sergeant and lieutenant; worked on both Brooklyn South narcotics and Brooklyn South auto crime – two problems plaguing the 61st Precinct.

Chell praised his predecessor at the meeting, but didn’t fail to note the recent uptick in crime.

“Even though crime is a little up right now, I think part of it, [Mastrokostas is] a victim of his own success. He’s done a great job, and for that I thank him,” Chell said.

To bring crime down, Chell added that he hopes to maintain strong connections with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, and place pressure on prosecutors to lock up known repeat offenders for lengthier terms.

“If I can get them put in jail for … three days, three months, three years, 30 years. If I can chip away at this and put each one of these people in jail for a long period of time, we will bring it back down to where it should be,” Chell said. “And that’s where my expertise comes in. I’ve been doing this for years. Lock up the right people, at the right time, and the right place, working with the DA’s office and do the best we can to prosecute them.”

Chell is also emphasizing the role the community can play in crime fighting and improving relations with the precinct. He has been personally visiting civic associations, and during his first week held an off-the-record meet-and-greet with local leaders, activists and media. He spent his several first days calling local elected officials and civic heads to let them know of the change in guard.

“You don’t realize how important the community is until you become captain,” Chell said. “During the time I was in the [60th Precinct], I quickly realized that community is a big part of this. We’re all on the same team here. I like to say it’s a third of crime fighting, and it’s probably more, ’cause we’re all in this together.”

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  • ES

    I will miss Mastrokostas. He was very cute. Kind of like a Greek Elvis.

  • Georgia

    I will miss Mastrokostas myself also. He’s done a great for the 61st pct & South Brooklyn I wish him all the luck on the road in front of him.

  • Laughable

    “Mastrokostas is joining the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau,” oh, that explains all of the dinners in Rasputin and The National, they were job related…
    As for the “two plagues” of the 61, is the corruption just a head cold? The day any of my block calls 911 ended years ago. We know we are on our own and plan accordingly. 

    • Neptune

       Its amazing how if you have your ph #  on block that when you call your credit card  company they recognize your number… try it from your home ph

      • Subway Stinker

        yes, we lost our privacy years ago.  when I order by phone the order taker already has my name on a dsiplay screen, and able to say “Hello Stinker, How may I help you.”

  • Nick the Rat

    Chell was in brooklyn south narcotics? this guy is probably a huge fucking tool. and corrupt.

  • barkingspider07

    Some new blood at the 61?  Good riddance to Mastrokostas.  The f’en guy was totally useless, as were his subordinates.  Hopefully, this new guy will whip his lazy cops into shape, keep them out of Dunkin Donuts and make them work for a living.  What a major change that would be!

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  • Subway Stinker

    can any of The Bites Brainiacs update us on the wrongful arrest of that homeowner in his own driveway that was caught Live on Tape, showing the cops lied?

  • Blockwatcher

    I have had a problem with drug dealers on my block for over 2 years now. For the past year I have been working with Insp. Mastrokostas, the Community Affairs officers and the patrol officers of the 61st Precinct as well as the NYPD Naroctics Unit in trying to correct the situation. It was getting better but now it’s getting worse again. Yet I can only commend and thank all of the above officers for their efforts. The problem is not that the officers are not trying, they are, I have personally observed their efforts many times, but there are simply not enough of them to do what needs to be done. That is the problem, not the officers.
    I call 911 as soon as I see something. Even if 911 doesn’t ask a lot of time wasting questions (or hang up on you) they take too long in airing complaints over the radio system. Example: 3 prowlers in my driveway at 4:30 AM and 911 delays airing the call for 50 minutes. This is an extreme case but the delays are not unusual especially with drug calls which are considered low priority. Those calls never go out quick enough for a unit to respond in time to catch them. That’s assuming there is a unit available to respond and there rarely is. The 61st precinct has 11 sectors assigned to it. Rarely are there enough police officers on duty to cover more than 4-6 of those sectors. That means response times suffer greatly for this is a very active precinct. Units are often holding 5 jobs assigned to them at a time. My experience with response time if or once a unit is available is generally very good. Another thing limiting the availability of precinct officers is the practice of temporarily assigning them to Manhattan and now the new Barclay Center.
    No, the problem is not with the efforts of the 61st Precinct but with the lack of officers assigned to this- or for that matter any other precinct. You want to blame someone, blame the mayor. All the cops are in Manhattan, Manhattan and business are the only things important to this mayor. That and “sugary” drinks. My physical and mental health would be a lot better if he devoted his efforts to reducing crime and improving the quality of life of the law abiding people, the residents of the outer boroughs. And now he wants to cut another 2% of the police budget. We don’t have enough police officers to adequately patrol now. I shudder to think how much worse things will get if we don’t get more, not less officers, and soon.

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