Today’s news:

114th Precinct captain retires in abrupt move

The deputy inspector of Astoria’s 114th Precinct unexpectedly retired from his post last week, while several other top officers at the precinct also stepped down, community leaders said.

Astoria’s leaders said they were surprised to hear that Paul Vorbeck, who had acted as the precinct’s deputy inspector for more than two years, left his job at the precinct last week.

“As far I know, he retired,” said Lucille Hartman, district manager of Astoria’s Community Board 1. “He put in his retirement papers. It’s a surprise. It was a quick retirement. I always found him to be a very cooperative person. He answered all my questions and was accessible.”

Councilman Peter vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said three other-high ranking detectives at the precinct, including one sergeant and two lieutenants, also retired last week. Two of the employees had been on the night shift and one had been on the day shift.

“Under Vorbeck’s tenure, crime continued to go down,” Vallone said. “I look forward to working with whoever is assigned the command next. I have already personally spoken to [NYPD Commissioner] Ray Kelly about the increase in crime lately. He’s well aware of our need for a seasoned commander.”

A spokesman for the city’s Police Department said Vorbeck, who had been at the precinct for 2 1/2 years, retired after serving in the Police Department for 20 years. Two other sergeants at the precinct have also retired, he said.

Meanwhile, Capt. Frank Tarantola will take over as acting command officer at the precinct until Kelly appoints a new deputy inspector, the NYPD spokesman said.

Vallone said there has been a recent rash of murders in western Queens, including the shooting of a man in the alleyway near Mike’s Diner on 31st Street in Astoria, the strangling of a man from the community in Astoria Park July 7 and the fatal shooting of another man on 28th Street last weekend.

One source familiar with the precinct said Vorbeck had given 30 days’ notice, while other community leaders said his retirement had been sudden.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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