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NYPD taps SE Queens deputy for terror trial detail

NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Blake spent years helping to clean the streets of southeast Queens and now he is assigned to keep the city safe as it hosts the trial against the Sept. 11, 2001, terror plot suspects.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly promoted Blake to his new rank Tuesday afternoon where he will be in charge of security planning for the five men accused of planning the World Trade Center attacks.

Kelly said the 23-year veteran was his pick for the position due to his long record as a commanding officer at the 102nd and 103rd precincts in Queens.

“As with every assignment he’s been given, Chief Blake has done an exceptional job,” the commissioner said during the ceremony.

Blake’s former colleagues at the 103rd Precinct, which covers Jamaica, Hollis Park Gardens, Hollis, Lakewood and downtown Jamaica, were ecstatic that their former head earned his new position.

Donna Clopton, president of the precinct’s community council, said the skills Blake, 48, demonstrated during his tenure from 2005 to September would be beneficial for the when the federal government gets ready to prosecute the alleged terrorists.

“He seems to have this insight and way with people to know whether they are real or not,” she said.

Blake has already been putting his expertise to work, according to the commissioner. The deputy chief has completed a security assessment of several key buildings, including the Manhattan federal court house and surrounding areas, according to Kelly.

“In this post, the new deputy chief helps to manage one of the most advanced centers of counterterrorism training and analysis in the world,” the commissioner said.

Blake began his career with the NYPD in 1986 as a patrol officer in the Bronx and moved up the ranks through several NYPD precincts and units, including Queens Narcotics and Queens Gang.

After serving two years as the commanding officer in the 102nd Precinct, which covers Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens and Woodhaven, Blake was transferred to the 103rd, where crime has gone down more than 25 percent during the decade from 1,852 total crimes reported last year compared to 2,481 crimes reported in 2001, according to police statistics.

The police will be conducting more security procedures in anticipation of the controversial trial against alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his suspected accomplices.

After the U.S. Attorney’s office announced that the trial against the men would be taking place in New York City, several national and city leaders expressed worry that the trial would make the city a bigger target for terrorists and hurt its infrastructure during the pending court hearings.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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