Interview with Captain Gregory Mackie - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2016 Juniper Berry Magazine

Interview with Captain Gregory Mackie

Captain Mackie with wife, Jen and daughter, Alexa.

Captain Gregory Mackie was born and raised in Manhattan. Growing up initially in the Southbridge Towers downtown, Greg was exposed to the legal system at a very early age. His mother was a court reporter and his father was an NYPD Police Officer at the time he was born. Being the youngest of 3 boys, Greg was on his way to a very interesting journey. He also has a stepmother, Maryanne, who was a very positive influence on him. Although I didn't settle on a career path in law enforcement until my 20s, I had the exposure to it at home, Mackie said. But it was much more than watching reruns of McCloud or Barney Miller that got me hooked...I knew from early on that I liked being around other cops, particularly those who were family friends...the 'war stories' were enthralling, but there was also brotherhood and comraderie, and a sense of family amongst them that I was particularly drawn to.

At age 13 he moved to Vero Beach, a small town in Florida, with his father and stepmother. Greg worked as a busboy in a local restaurant for a couple of years and then went off to college. At the University of Central Florida (UCF) he majored in Criminal Justice/Legal Studies. At one point he considered architecture and almost decided to be a lawyer. Greg wasn't really interested in playing sports, however, but he does like to watch baseball and is a Mets fan.

During his time at UCF he worked as a professor's clerical assistant. He then began an internship with a paralegal in the Federal District Courts in Florida. It was here that he gained a lot of exposure to trials. In fact, he became very familiar with several of the FBI & IRS racketeering cases that were going on at the time. Years later Greg would be surprised to find that the documentary show, American Greed, had been detailing a case he worked on as an intern.

Greg graduated College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He worked several jobs, including one at an armament company. But it was his job as a dispatcher for a local Sherriff's department in Indian River County that gained him a lot of experience in law enforcement and an appreciation for the stress that dispatchers are placed under daily. This position required the operator to be very quick, and possess superior hand-to-eye coordination in managing the calls. Since in this county the EMS and law enforcement dispatch were consolidated, there were many challenges in routing the calls properly. Greg did this work for just under one year. Then he was ready for the NYPD.

Greg was recruited into the NYPD in 2000. He spent 9 months in training at the police academy. In May of 2001 he graduated from the police academy and his first assignment was at the 13th precinct in the field. The day after he completed his field training was September 11, 2001. Greg was off duty that morning but was immediately mobilized. He was part of the mobile response units as part of Day 2, and on Day 3 he was on the detail protecting vital infrastructure, including ConEd facilities. Greg's lasting memory of those days was the shock that he felt the night after the terrorist attack. It particularly hit home for him as the attack happened where he grew up as a child. It was personal.

In April of 2002, Greg was placed in the Manhattan South Task Force. This unit was mainly responsible for handling demonstration, security, and tourist spots such as Times Square. Although he enjoyed this detail, he was anxious to get back to precinct work. In January of 2003, Greg was transferred by request to Midtown South Precinct and worked on midnight patrol. In 2004, he shifted to the day tour.

The next stop on the route to the 104 was the summons unit in Midtown South. While here, he took the sergeant's exam and passed. He was promoted January of 2007. Upon promotion he did a brief stint at the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn and was shortly thereafter drafted into the 78th Precinct Prospect Park Summer Detail, which Greg looks back on fondly as a favorite point in his career. It is in Brooklyn that Greg found a true passion for police work serving a neighborhood-based community, and where he was mentored by senior supervisors Sergeant Maryann Nellen and Lieutenant Vincent Perrone.

Greg recalls his commanding Officer at the 78th Precinct, Deputy Inspector John Argenziano, from whom he learned a great deal. John was the driving force of the 78th. I intently watched him run that command for nearly five years, and very successfully, he said, under the then-Borough Commander Chief Joseph Fox, who now heads up the Transit Bureau. Inspector Argenziano and Chief Fox were both huge influences in me pursuing a captaincy. They both possess leadership qualities which I admire and always strive to attain. said Greg. One of the rules of thumb he learned from his former commander was to have a sense of humor, but be a supervisor first.

In November of 2011, Greg took the Lieutenants' exam and passed. In June of 2012, he was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned to Transit District 23 which serves the A Train in Ozone Park, Howard Beach, and the Rockaways. It was this detail that represented the most challenges for him up to that point. Greg needed to deploy the patrols very carefully to cover this area. Transit details can be particularly dangerous as the nearest backup could be located at a distance. Plus, many criminals in the subway system tend to be hardened ones likely to resist arrest. In addition, the officer is more likely to be patrolling alone. Despite all its challenges, this position was excellent exposure to the community.

In September of 2014, Greg was promoted to Captain. The next month he was assigned to the 104th precinct as Executive Officer. In this role, he has assumed responsibility and accountability for a large portion of the precinct's operations. Greg is all about getting the job done correctly. His standard of quality is extremely high. As the result of this attention to correctness in daily enforcement, the 104th has the one lowest percentage Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) complaints in the city. Greg tells us that we may not realize how diverse the 104th community is. Thus, proactive enforcement is key in maintaining this high standard of quality policing.

We asked Greg about his most memorable arrest. He recalls a time early in his career in Midtown South. He was called to a pizzeria where an employee was fired yet demanded additional pay. This employee was taking that pay from the register. Greg was able to subdue this perpetrator but not without a struggle, eventually having to pepper spray the individual. He tells us the lesson he learned was not to hesitate to call for backup.

When asked about a memorable time in his career, Greg was commended by the district attorney for a robbery arrest of a livery driver while in the Task Force, providing solid evidence that resulted in a conviction and 7-year sentence.

Greg has also had some tense moments on the job. One time he recalls having to draw his weapon on a 16-year-old individual that was pretending to have a gun. He, of course, did not know this. After multiple verbal commands for the individual to remove his hands from his pocket, and showing amazing restraint, a foot chase ensued and fortunately the arrest was made without further incident. That is the type of restraint that very few civilians would be able to show! A similar circumstance happened recently when Greg responded to a home invasion call in Ridgewood. Again, restraint was showed, and the arrest was made.

Greg's personal life couldn't be better. He met his wife, Jen, in 2003. They were engaged in 2006 then married in 2009. Jen is from Farmingdale and works as a kindergarten teacher in Hicksville. They have a Halloween baby, Alexa, now 3 years old. Greg tells us that although the hours can be long and he cannot leave until he sees the job at hand to completion, Jen is understanding. She is extremely supportive as any spouse of an officer is concerned about her husband's safety. The family typically vacations at DisneyWorld each year as that is his wife and daughter's favorite place.

Greg has several interests outside of police work. He is a classic car aficionado. He used to have more time to go to car shows and the like. His favorite car that he owns is an '85 Eldorado Biarritz. He like to tinker with his cars every now and then. He especially loves muscle cars and his dream car would be a 1976 Fleetwood Talisman.

Greg is also a piano player. As a piano-man he is a very big Billy Joel fan. As luck would have it, in 2005 while in Midtown South, he noticed there was a large crowd gathering by a department store. Sure enough, the crowd was gathering around Billy Joel!! Greg then had the opportunity to meet his idol and shake his hand. There is nothing like meeting your idol in person!

Well, we are a big fan of Greg's! His work at the 104th Precinct is notable. He is a man of few words, but he makes those words count. As executive officer, Greg has a rigorous daily routine. First he starts his day by examining the 311 calls and assuring they are up to date. After resolving any remaining calls he speaks to the previous tour's Sgt/Lt. to come up to speed on any remaining issues. Next he prepares to speak at the 3pm roll call. Then Greg checks in with the conditions and domestic violence units. Also, Greg take time to check in with the field training of the new graduates assigned to the 104th. He has an open door policy and encourages all officers in the command to speak to him about anything. Instilling and reinforcing the good policing principals into the officers is his Prime Directive.

Although Greg has not been with the 104th Precinct a long time it feels quite the opposite as he has become intimately involved with the community. He is constantly keeping the civics informed when there are crime patterns that we need to be aware of. Greg also handles a large portion of traffic enforcement for the command. He is closely involved with assuring 311 calls are attended to as many high-priority and profile incidents. He is a big part of the reason why the 104th continually has reductions in crimes, accident fatalities, and other significant improvements. He hopes to have a command of his own one day. Selfishly, we hope it is not too soon as we want him at the 104th Precinct as long as possible!!

March 2016 Juniper Berry Magazine

March 2016 Table of Contents