Born – 1975
Hospital – LaGuardia
Hometown – Glendale, Liberty Park
Father – School Teacher, Nathan Hale, Mathematics
Mother – Homemaker
Schools – St. Pancras, Christ the King, John Jay – Major Criminal Justice, Minor – Forensics
First Job – Caldor at the Metro Mall
Married 13 years – His wife is formerly from Middle Village.
Children – 3 Boys
Sports: Enjoys watching baseball and football, most exercising. Outdoor camping enthusiast
Joined 104th Auxiliary 1991-96
Became Police Cadet 1996
Worked part-time for the Police to pay for college tuition
Graduated Academy 1997
First Assignment –Brooklyn Transit M, J trains mainly
Worked plain clothes after a short amount of time.
2002 – Promoted to Sergeant – 90th Precinct
Worked patrol, Conditions, Narcotics, Training Rookies
2007 – Promoted to Lieutenant – 108th Precinct
Patrol, Special Ops
2011 – Promoted to Captain – 110th Precinct
2013 – Transferred to 114th Precinct
2014 – Transferred to CitiField Detail Commanding Officer
2015 – Transferred to 104th Precinct Commanding Officer
Captain Mark Wachter is no stranger to the 104th Precinct. He grew up in Glendale. As a young adult, he was an auxiliary officer at the 104th Precinct. His mother still resides in Glendale and his mother-in-law resides in Middle Village. He knows the 104th Precinct’s communities very well to say the least!
Captain Wachter’s sense of community service came from his father. As a boy, Mark’s father took him to work, the school where his father was teaching. Also, his father was a camp counselor and would bring him on school trips. Watching his father’s interactions with the children made an impression on Mark at an early age. He was able to see how dedicated his father was to the school’s community of children and how much he valued his students as well as spending time with his family.
The Captain also has this same dedication to our community and his family. He spends a significant amount of time volunteering to take his boys and their scout troop camping, fishing, etc. He places a high value on these activities. He has coached his son’s baseball team. He is also very realistic about his responsibilities to his work. Many times he would like to be the head coach but realistically there are times when he can only assist, due to work commitments. He speaks very firmly with a sense of determination. It is important to him that when he commits to something, he follows through.
When asked about the proudest moment in his career, the Captain was extremely humble. He does not like “promoting” himself. He is proud but not to the point of having an ego. It took him a while to think of just one thing. There is a pride he takes in everything he does so it was hard to come up with just one thing. When nudged, he recalled a time when he was a transit cop. There was a suicidal man on the tracks. He spoke to this man convincing him not to take his life. This was very early in his career and an understandably proud moment.
He also recalled working during the 2002 Blackout. There was a train stuck on the tracks in between the Hewes Street and Marcy Avenue elevated stations in Brooklyn. Since Mark has plenty of experience “walking the tracks”, he led the effort to guide the passengers off the sweltering train. He notes that an elderly gentleman about 80 years old was especially thankful. To Mark’s surprise, he was given an award at the New York Stock Exchange for his efforts that day. Well deserved!
As with most, if not all officers, the Captain has earned some bumps and bruises along the way. There was only one time that he was hurt where he needed time off work. He had crashed in a subway pillar, and the airbag deployed, but he was banged up pretty badly. That’s what it takes to separate him from his work.
His pet peeve is bicycle riders that go through red lights, so all of you bicycle enthusiasts better obey those traffic signals!!
The Captain enjoys his job very much, and you can see his enthusiasm. He continues to consider his job fun which makes it not seem like work. And that is the key, of course.
Each commander has a policing philosophy. It starts from the commissioner and is executed by the commanding officers. When asked about his policing philosophy, Mark is quick to answer: Community Policing. He believes that there needs to be a lot of dialog with the community and believes it starts with the children. He was very happy to see that the 104th has a great relationship with the local youth organizations, runs the Explorers program, and the precinct itself is considered to be an open door to the public, especially the children. It is important to him that children have a positive impression of the police. He refers to and displays a book in his office, “Your Police,” a children’s book from 1956 about police that commissioner Bratton carried from department to department as a reminder of what policing is all about. This book is one of his most prized possessions.
Mark went on to describe how he wants to stay on top of the small issues before they become larger ones. That is music to our ears considering that our area is known mostly for quality of life crimes and issues. It is comforting to see that he cares a great deal about quality of life issues. He is also very tech savvy. The Captain notes that many more crimes are solved today with the use of technology. Cameras and other investigative techniques are now commonplace in police work.
What makes Mark different from previous commanders? He believes his knowledge of our area is an advantage. He walked these streets and knows them very well. His management philosophy when it comes to the 170+ officers in his command is simple, holding people accountable and dispensing discipline when necessary. He has an open-door policy with his officers, which during this interview I saw him constantly interacting with all levels in his command. He, like most commanders, reads every single report that is filed. He works until the job is completed, and many times that means a 15+ hour shift! He is not a clock watcher by any means. He is quick to get to know the people he works with so that they can be effective. He strives to investigate and adapt to each situation he is in. He also places a high value on the human factor whether he is working with a victim or an officer in his command.
Mark believes that by treating people with respect, respect is likely to be returned. When dealing with the public, he is reminded of a saying he heard early in his career: “Treat everyone as you would treat your mother”. Sounds like great advice! He has in his career worked this way and still maintained discipline. He does not believe in overpowering people to maintain order.
Upon ending our interview the Captain showed me his coin collection. Each coin has a story; many of them represent military or police divisions. You can see how he cares for each of these coins. You can’t help but to think about the similarities the coins represent to the people in the 104th community. He cares for each one of those coins, each representing a unique part of the collection.
Captain Wachter is very happy to be back in neighborhood and he has a sense of ownership over the crime in the area. He has family that lives in his command. What better motivator is there to vigorously fighting crime in our area? That kind of dedication and ownership of issues is what we need. He is eager to solve and resolve the crime issues in our area and he has a lot of energy to do it. He understands that the 104th precinct is unique and that there are over 170,000 people that live in his command. He has some innovative ways to prevent crime that we’ll be seeing real soon as well as maintaining the policing techniques that are working.
A warm welcome to Captain Wachter!