Meet Andrene Sargeant: A Community Detective
She goes by Detective Sargeant. Yes, she’s a detective. And yes, her last name is Sargeant. Around the 88th Precinct, the Detective Andrene Sargeant’s name is a running joke. It’s been said that if she were to become Lieutenant, she would receive a promotion and a demotion at the same time. And if she were to become a sergeant, she’d be Sargeant squared.
With that last name, it seems almost pre-disposed that Sargeant would find herself dedicated to a career in law enforcement. Detective Sargeant started out as a 911 operator who, on a whim, tried out for the police force and has moved through the ranks over the past 15 years to her current position working in Community Affairs at the 88th Precinct in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. She and Officer Kinney are the Community Affairs team at the 88th Precinct.
“I love my job,” states Detective Sargeant point blank. In her job in community affairs, she serves as a liaison between the community and the NYPD – on the street, at concerts, block parties, demonstrations, and protests. And while the NYPD requires police officers not live in the precinct where they work, Sargeant considers Fort Greene home in a lot of ways. She says, “I’m here more than I’m [at my actual] home sometimes. Especially when there’s a crisis like Sandy”. People know her here. She’s recognized and respected throughout the community, by her colleagues, and by the public.
Though the police force is a male-dominated field, Detective Sargeant holds her own. And she adds a thoughtful touch to her job, like checking in on kids in the community who she knows need a little extra attention. She’ll pop up into a class at a local school periodically, telling the teacher she has a special friend in the class, letting the child know that someone is there who cares and is watching out for them.
Detective Sargeant is thoughtful and creative and strives to have local residents view the police station as a refuge. It’s bothersome to her when she has overheard parents tell their kids they’ll end up at the police station as a threat to have them to behave. In her work in community affairs, the goal is also very much to be a community resource. To help combat the stigma of the police station and to show that the precinct can be a beneficial resource, the 88th Precinct accepts a few teenagers into a paid summer youth program every summer. “They help around the precinct and participate in community events like the Harmony Day picnic and National Night Out,” she further explains. At the beginning of the summer, Detective Sargeant sees the kids are skeptical; but by the end, she says they love it. It really changes their perception of the police force for the better.
When asked about her biggest pet peeves on the job, the detective says it is when she sees people walking alone using headphones. “They are completely unaware of their surroundings,” she says. Sometimes she’ll follow them in her patrol car until they are safely at home and is amazed that not once did they turn around to see what was going on around them.
But one lasting impression about Detective Sargeant that all of us to have been fortunate to encounter and/or work with her would agree, is her compassion. “My interaction with you,” she says, “I want you to walk away feeling good about it.”