Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin already adored the Upper West Side when he took command of the NYPD’s 20th precinct one year ago.
“I fell in love with the two-oh when I was in the two-four,” Malin said, reflecting fondly on his stint four years earlier serving the 24th precinct, which patrols the northern half of the Upper West Side. During his time as the 24th precinct’s executive officer, Malin paid regular visits to his colleagues to the south in the 20th precinct, which covers the area from West 59th to West 86th Streets.
The neighborhood left a lasting impression, and Malin leapt at the chance to return when his current position opened. “It’s just such a wonderful place — wonderful people, wonderful cops,” he said. “It’s such a good place to both work and also really enjoy the neighborhood.”
The Challenge of High ExpectationsMalin is a regular presence at community board meetings and other public gatherings, where he provides updates on the precinct’s efforts and candidly responds to feedback from residents.
This open, solutions-oriented approach is a message he emphasizes to the 130 officers under his command. “The people on the Upper West Side are very nice and they’re very laid back, but they have high expectations when it comes to customer service,” he said. “They want good service and transparency. And frankly, that’s the best thing for policing.”
It helps, Malin said, that the precinct has a “good cop culture” that long preceded his tenure. “The police officers here understand the Upper West Side,” he said. “They listen, they care, they try and solve people’s problems and they’re courteous about doing it.”
Putting a Theory into ActionPrior to joining the 20th precinct in April 2018, Malin spent three years at NYPD headquarters working under Chief Terence Monahan to craft the department’s neighborhood policing program. The Upper West Side command post represented an opportunity to apply a policy he helped create.
“I’d been practicing this in theory and supporting the other commanding officers, and I wanted to try to do it myself and implement what we’d been working on behind the scenes,” he said.
Neighborhood policing launched in the 20th precinct in July 2018, and results have been positive. In addition to new neighborhood coordination officers focused on working with the community to solve problems, patrol officers are now assigned to specific sectors of the neighborhood, with which they become intimately familiar.
“I’m seeing the patrol cops get really invested in the little area of the precinct that they police,” he said. “It’s been really fun to see.”
Weekends in the NeighborhoodAs the father of three boys under five (“The last five years I can say I have not gotten a lot of sleep,” he said with a laugh), Malin has shared his love of the neighborhood he serves with his family on weekend trips to Central Park and visits to local museums.
“Not only do I like it professionally ... but this is also the kind of place, from a personal standpoint, where I can integrate my family life and my professional life,” Malin said.
“I have to say, the past year has been the best of my career,” he continued. “Being back here — this precinct, this community, these cops — it’s the best.”