Hundreds of community members and NYPD officials celebrated his achievement last Thursday night at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth. The detective has served as a Community Affairs officer for many years.
“It’s an honor and it’s a humbling experience to be standing here in front of you,” Sadler said. “You guys have treated me like your own family for many years. For that, I am forever grateful.”
He thanked his family, whom he called “the driving force behind everything that I do.” He also expressed how grateful he is that he can return home to them every night.
But in his work as a community affairs officer, Sadler said he found another family with the residents of Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood. He said he has seen many families grow over the years.
His popularity in the community is explained by acts of service and volunteerism. Last year, Sadler and fellow members of the 104th Precinct participated in the Middle Village Relay For Life to raise money for cancer research.
Sadler is a cancer survivor himself, recovering from malignant melanoma in 2012. He ran a marathon during the charity event, equivalent to 104 times around the track. The precinct raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society.
Sadler’s community affairs partner, Detective Thomas Bell, said Sadler gets his personality from his parents. He recalled the time Sadler’s parents invited Bell’s family to their upstate home and made them feel “like I’ve known them for 100 years.”
The detective said his partner “does some of the finest” acts even outside of work, such as volunteering to help build a school near Mount Everest.
“Everybody knows, if they ever call on Charlie, Charlie tries to go above and beyond each and every time, without question,” Bell said.
Before leaving the stage, Bell surprised the entire crowd by announcing that he would retire. But it turned out to be a joke, one that left Sadler with a smile.
“He’s not finished with me yet,” Bell said with a laugh. “He’s not getting off that easy.”
The celebration also honored the work of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, led by executive director Bob Monahan. When he joined the organization in 1981, the council only had three staff members and served a few hundred kids.
Today, GRYC is a $12.5 million agency with 503 staff members serving 3,000 children every day. Monahan attributed its success to the people who work in the organization, many of whom attended the celebratory event on Thursday night.
“The folks here are the ones in the trenches, changing lives of children every single day,” he said.
Monahan also has a special relationship with the 104th Precinct. Bell called him “a great man who does great things.”
“When I have a family or a kid in need, it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, the time of the night, I call that man,” Bell said. “Without hesitation, he just says when, where, I’m there.
“This is a man who believes in community and these kids, even the bad ones,” he added.
Monahan said he loves the opportunity to speak to new police officers. He also sees himself as someone who is “in the business to put the NYPD out of the kid business.”
“The more kids who are involved with us at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, the less that are involved with you in the precinct,” Monahan said.
Local elected officials attended the celebration and lauded both Sadler and Monahan for the work they do on behalf of the community.
Public Advocate Letitia James called Sadler “the definition of a hero,” someone who thinks of others before he thinks of himself. She praised him for being a volunteer firefighting, for taking guns off the streets and coordinating the auxiliary unit.
“He has a heart of gold. For the past 12 years, he's dedicated his life to the safety of the neighborhood,” she said. “He is the true embodiment of New York’s Finest.”
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said Sadler is not only a police officer, but a personal friend. The greatest job he’s done, he said, is caring about his family “more than anything.”
Len Santoro, president of the 104th Precinct Community Council, called it a “no-brainer” to honor Sadler for consistently performing above and beyond throughout the whole year.
“Charlie is all over the precinct,” he said. “He does pretty much anything that anyone ever asks him to do.”
This year marked the third annual “Cop of the Year” event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the community council. In previous years, the council honored Detective Bell and Officer Geraldo Gonzalez, the graffiti officer. The theme over the years has been emphasizing the importance of community affairs.
For Santoro, celebrating the work of the NYPD is personal. His father was a detective for 39 years.
“Frankly, it’s thankless for the families too,” he said. “I really want the families to be honored too because they’re the ones that support and are behind the man or woman.”