By the late 1970's Memorial Park had become a popular place for youths to congregate. Any evening, dozens of
adolescents could be found there, and it had become a problem. Illegal drug use was prevalent and residents
wanted action to be taken to address the issue. One summer evening in 1981, Floral Park Police, assisted by
undercover Nassau County Police narcotics officers, took action, making over a dozen arrests. Within a few years
the park was rehabilitated and with constant vigilance, the problem has never returned to the degree of that time.
By 1983, activity was reaching its pinnacle. Officers responded to 7,745 calls for service, of these, there were 591
criminal cases reported, including 180 larcenies, 34 auto larcenies, 98 burglaries, and 17 robberies, reported to
the Floral Park Police Department. There were 278 arrests made that year. Police responded to 282 motor
vehicle accidents and issued 2,218 summonses for violations of traffic law.
Around the stationhouse, the communications center that was state-of-the-art technology in 1958 was replaced
with a multi-line telephone system, and most of the telephone callboxes were removed from their locations around
the village. The old L-shaped desk had been torn down and replaced with a larger square desk area.
Chief McCarthy retired in 1984 and was succeeded by Police Commissioner Benjamin Kilichowski. After public
debate, the rank of Police Chief was replaced with the position of Police Commissioner. The requirements for the
commanding officer of the Floral Park Police Department had been altered and allowed for the village to appoint a
member from within the department who had achieved, at least, the rank of Sergeant.
In the 1980's, New York City was still experiencing a growth in violent crime that was unprecedented. Nationally,
crime was on the rise in most urban areas. By the end of the decade, the philosophy of "Community Policing", a
collaboration between the police department and community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and
involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems, was replacing the
"Professional Model", where the focus was primarily upon response times to crimes in progress and service calls,
and visibility of patrol. Where the Professional Model was reactive, Community Policing was proactive.
Community Policing used as a framework "Broken Windows Theory" developed by Professors James Wilson and
George Kelling. This theory states that as a broken window on a building left unattended would lead to additional
broken windows on that building as it signaled that nobody cared, so too does leaving elements of disorder left
unchecked lead to more significant crimes. Therefore quality-of-life issues, such as disorderly conduct, public
urination, open container violations, and graffiti should be actively addressed.
Where New York City was not able to bring its crime problem under control until the 1990's, Floral Park, which
never had a problem that was out control, had already begun to see a decline in criminal activity through the
1980's. To a large degree this can be attributed to the fact that the Floral Park Police Department had through its
history employed many of the tactics that were consistent with the model of Community Policing. As noted many
times through its history "the Floral Park Police Department believes in a potent ounce of prevention" and the
concerns of the citizenry were actively addressed.