Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Honors NYPD at Milestone Edition of Annual Awards Luncheon

image courtesy of the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.

BY JESSE GERICKE & SCOTT STIFFLER | Founded in 1949 by a group of visionary entrepreneurs, the coverage area of the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) has grown to include the SoHo, NoHo, Union Square, and Flatiron communities. Its contemporary membership—ranging from independent and sole proprietorships to major institutions and organizations—benefits from services including educational seminars, marketing and promotional campaigns, networking opportunities, and government advocacy.

But the Chamber’s oldest and most cherished program is Safe City Safe Streetswhich has been building positive relationships between local NYPD precincts, Police Officers, and the communities they serve for over 20 years. Those relationships are forged, strengthened, and maintained at the Chamber’s annual Safe City Safe Streets Awards Luncheon. Held on December 14, 2023 at the luxurious Manhattan Penthouse on Fifth Avenue, the GVCCC’s presented “Officer of the Year” awards to standout members of law enforcement from the 6th, 9th, 10th, 13th, and Midown South Precincts. It was the 20th edition of the annual event.

Asked to comment on the December luncheon, GVCCC Executive Director Jesse Gericke noted, “Our streets are not just pathways; they are the lifeblood of our community. The Safe City, Safe Streets program acknowledges our shared commitment to fostering a safe and secure community, made possible by the unwavering dedication of the NYPD officers who stand as the guardians of our neighborhoods.” The Officer of the Year awards, Gericke continued, “are more than just tokens of appreciation. They represent our collective admiration for those who exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, courage, and community engagement.”

Providing ample proof of those sentiments are the below excerpts of biographical text culled from the GVCCC’s Awards Luncheon program detailing the achievements of Safe  City Safe Streets’ 2023 NYPD Precinct Honorees (click here to access it on the GVCCC website).

GVCCC President Tiffany Donaldson and the 10th Precinct’s 2023 Cop of the Year, Police Officer William Lleras. | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography

2023’s 10th Precinct Cop of the Year: Police Officer William Lleras

Appointed to the NYPD in July 2018, Officer Lleras was assigned to the 10th Precinct in October 2019, where his knack for interacting positively with the Chelsea community led to his becoming a Neighborhood Coordination Officer serving Sector A (W. 14th St. to W. 21st St., 7th Ave. to the Hudson). Officer Lleras maintains that position to this day, having exceeded expectations, as a crime fighter and problem solver who consistently goes above and beyond his duties.

His commitment to combatting crime and fostering community support was underscored by being named the 10th Precinct Cop of the Month in March 2023. After responding swiftly to a 911 call reporting a man with a large rifle on 10th Avenue, Officer Lleras identified and apprehended the individual within minutes, discovering two loaded firearms in the process. His ability to take a dangerous individual off the streets while maintaining composure in a stressful situation is just one example of why he’s earned the respect of supervisors, peers, and members of the Chelsea community who feel safer knowing he’s present on Chelsea streets. (The award was sponsored by Peter McManus Café, Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group, and Capalino Advisors.)

Thirteenth Precinct honoree Edward Griffin with Ed Janoff, Union Square Partnership. | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography

2023’s 13th Precinct Cop of the Year: Police Officer Edward Griffin

With the NYPD since October 2016, Officer Griffin’s outstanding performance and consistent high-quality arrest enforcement led to his 2017 assignment as a Public Safety Officer. On August 3, 2023, responding to a 911 call, he apprehended the individual responsible for a robbery on West 25th Street (the stolen iPhone was recovered as well). Another incident on October 12, 2023 saw the vigilant Officer observing individuals acting suspiciously while inside a closed commercial establishment. He detained the group, leading to the discovery of items commonly used as burglar’s tools. His proactive and effective responses to criminal incidents demonstrate his commitment to public safety.

Sixth Precinct honoree Police Officer Mayko Matos with Valentine Goldstein, (Board Member, NYU & GVCCC). | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography

2023’s Sixth Precinct Cop of the Year: Detective Mayko Matos

Sworn into the NYPD In July 2015, Detective Matos has an impressive career marked by dedication and achievements. Starting in the 50th Precinct, he began patrolling the 6th Precinct in December 2015, then joined the Public Safety Team in December 2020. With 306 arrests to his name, Detective Matos has earned two Meritorious Police Duty Medals and 18 Excellent Police Duty Medals.

Detective Matos’s relentless commitment to duty is evident in his notable arrests. In December 2020, he made a pickup arrest for burglary, addressing a recurring issue in the Sixth Precinct. In July 2021, he apprehended a robbery suspect, earning him “Cop of the Month” awards. In October 2023, responding to a narcotics-selling radio-run, Detective Matos’ traffic stop resulted in the arrest of an individual with a revoked license. A subsequent search uncovered a substantial quantity of narcotics.

His proactive approach—detecting suspicious activity and providing a visible presence—has contributed to his success. Detective Matos excels in surveillance and is known for working well with peers and mentoring new officers. His adaptability is evident in joint operations with various NYPD units, addressing precinct issues ranging from youth coordination to financial crimes. Detective Matos’s flexibility, skills, and dedication make him an excellent choice for this accolade.

Midtown South Precinct honoree Gina Lagatolla with Michael Banach of Baruch College (sponsor of Lagatolla’s honor). | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography

2023’s Midtown South Precinct Cop of the Year: Police Officer Gina Lagattolla

Appointed to the NYPD in November 2020, Officer Lagattolla quickly distinguished herself as an exemplary officer. Assigned to Midtown South in May 2021, she completed the Field Training Program and subsequently earned a coveted assignment at Madison Square Garden (as a member of the day tour Platoon). In January 2023, Officer Lagattolla joined the Midtown South Public Safety Team, showcasing exceptional awareness of crime trends and conditions. During the first year of this assignment, she made 67 arrests while collaborating effectively with the Detective Squad and Field Intelligence Officers.

On August 15, 2023, Officer Lagattolla observed a suspicious exchange and, suspecting a drug transaction, effected a Pick-Up arrest. The apprehended individual was found with an imitation firearm, 23 containers of Alleged K2, and drug paraphernalia. That’s just one of many examples of why Officer Lagattolla is lauded as highly competent and reliable, bringing a professional manner to each new task and assignment.

Ninth Precinct honoree Eugene Adeleye with Kara Cuva of Raising Cane’s. | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography

2023’s Ninth Precinct Cop of the Year: Eugene Adeleye

With over seven years in the NYPD, Officer Adeleye currently serves in the ninth precinct Community Affairs Unit, where his dedication and skill in handling challenging situations and de-escalation are well-recognized.

Officer Adeleye joined the NYPD in April 2016, initially assigned to the ninth precinct in September of the same year. Excelling in the Field Training Unit, he was subsequently appointed as a Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) for Sector C—a role that allowed him to engage with community partners, addressing crime and quality of life issues.

After successful years as an NCO, Officer Adeleye became the Ninth Precinct’s Crime Prevention Officer. His continued hard work led to his assignment in the Community Affairs Unit. Officer Adeleye’s contributions are vital to the Ninth Precinct’s successes. His efforts have strengthened community-police relationships, showcasing his dedication to both the community and the New York City Police Department.

The GVCCC Community Leadership Award went to Darren Bloch, of Greenwich House (also pictured, GVCCC Board Directors: Peg Butler, Valentine Goldstein, Scott Hobbs & Elizabeth Healy). | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography


Let’s hear it one more time for 10th Precint honoree, Police Officer William Lleras–joined here by the 10th’s new Commanding Officer, Captain Alexander Brathwaite. | Photo by Amy Mayes Photography


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