New top cop named in Mott Haven

The 40th Precinct has a familiar face as its new commanding officer.

Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson began serving on April 21 after the NYPD announced it was making a change in leadership at the 40th Precinct stationhouse on 138th St. and Alexander Ave. 

Between 1999 and 2005, Johnson served as head of PSA-7, the police force that operates in the area’s public housing complexes. That unit, headquartered on Melrose Ave., is overseen by the 40th Precinct.

Johnson says he is eager to return to a neighborhood he knows well, and with which he is getting reacquainted after nine years away.

“I feel a bit lucky as opposed to others (commanding officers) who are new,” he said.

Until mid-April, Johnson, 47, led the 49th Precinct in Morris Park and Pelham Parkway. His 26-year tenure for NYPD also includes a stint running the Bronx Gangs unit.

Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack, who took over the 40th Precinct in 2011, has been transferred to the 46th Precinct in University Heights, Morris Heights and Mount Hope. Crime rates in Mott Haven plunged under McCormack, but his 2-½ year run hit a controversial note in 2013 when an officer secretly recorded a conversation in which McCormack pressured him to target young African-American males, telling the officer that was the way to help bring down robbery rates.

The 4-0 has also taken some heat from residents for its enforcement of the city’s stop-and-frisk policy. NYPD stopped more drivers in Melrose and Mott Haven than all but three of the city’s 77 precincts in 2011, according to a report issued last year by the police dept.

“It’s a great tool when used properly,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the precinct would be especially active warning residents about a growing number of scams that target immigrants.

“Con artists like to prey upon minorities,” he said, adding “we’ll do whatever it takes to make everyone feel safe.”

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