David Heskiel is the bridge connecting the community with the NYPD and other city agencies.
Few people have had as illustrious a career in communal service and volunteering than Mr. David Heskiel, a longstanding volunteer public servant who works tirelessly addressing a wide range of pressing communal concerns, and is available around the clock to offer assistance when the need arises.
David’s current volunteer positions include: board member of COJO (Council of Jewish Organizations) of Flatbush who works closely with its chairman, Larry Spivak; official liaison to Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who sits on the prestigious Public Safety Committee of the city council; liaison to the 61stprecinct of the NYPD; police chaplain for the NYPD-SBA throughout the city; clergy liaison to the NYPD; and a Hate Crime Task Force member for the Public Advocate’s Office. Mr. Heskiel is always on call, at all hours of every day, standing at the forefront of all major community affairs, and doling out solutions to just about any problem.
Pulse on All the Issues
“If somebody has an issue,” David says, “whether it be an issue for the police department, such as security coverage, or a city issue such as garbage removal, snow removal, school closures, or even a civil service matter such as blocking off certain streets, or recovering after a major natural disaster, I can help them.” Together with Councilman Deutsch, Mr. Heskiel played a major role in helping the community during and after Hurricane Sandy in the autumn of 2012, including assisting in the evacuation of residents in the Flood Zone A area.
A Jack of all trades, David’s work is entirely volunteer-based. Despite the tremendous time commitment entailed, he attends every meeting involving civil service matters and the interests of the Sephardic Jewish community.
“I have my pulse on all of the issues,” says David. “As NYPD liaison, I’m a direct link from the police department to the community. Sometimes there’s a big scene, people are scared, they don’t know what’s going on – they’ll come to me as a liaison and I’ll explain the situation.”
David’s connections make him an invaluable resource for community members in need of help. “People need this direct link,” he says. “Whether it’s child abuse, financial destitution, truancy or eviction, I can help. I can link up my liaison through three different agencies and tie in.”
David observes that very often, a family suffering from child abuse is also in danger of eviction for not paying the rent. If there’s no money for rent, then there’s no food on the table, creating simmering tension that could be a catalyst for domestic abuse. In such situations, David can marshal his myriad connections with COJO and the councilman’s office to resolve multiple problems in one fell swoop.
Keeping Us Safe
Whether it’s around the holidays or every week on Shabbat, David makes sure that our community’s synagogues are safe. He frequently fields calls about suspicious vehicles or persons, and goes himself to check out the situation. “I deal with concerns right away and at the highest level,” David proudly avows. “I go tothe council meetings as often as I can. I have a strong relationship with the61st precinct, and surrounding precincts, as well as the Community Affairs Bureau.” David’s hard work is vital for easing our legitimate fears about vandalism and anti-Semitic attacks.
David emphasizes that while he’s committed to ensuring our safety, he needs to know about concerns before he can address them. “If you see something, say something,” he urges. “We’re only as good as the information we hear from people. Be vigilant and always be on the lookout.”
David makes himself publicly accessible day or night for any matter of urgency. He’s also is in touch with the rabbis of the community synagogues and the heads of community schools in order to stay informed. Additionally,he is a member of CityWide One NY, a radio group consisting of multiple emergency agency members and personnel who respond to disasters around the city. He plugs into the high volume of inter-agency information that goes back and forth on the radio so he is always kept abreast of every situation and the inner workings of all city agencies.
David has forged a close partnership with Councilman Deutsch, who has been responsive to our community for so long, and with Sephardic Sergeant Moise Naolo of the NYPDCommunity Affairs Bureau, who skillfully manages the affairs of our clergy and employs a very present, hands-on approach to his responsibilities to the community. We are indebted to all these men for their invaluable service and help, and we wish Mr. Heskiel continued success in his superb, tireless efforts to keep our community safe and ably resolve all problems that arise.