An NYPD veteran detective has been nominated for the New York Daily News Hometown Heroes award after a long career dedicated to serving the community.
Police veteran Detective Tanya Duhaney has spent her life serving Southeast Queens neighborhoods and is finally getting the recognition she deserves.
Sgt. James Clarke of the Patrol Borough Queens South Community Affairs office, and Duhaney’s boss, nominated her for the award.
“You can’t go anywhere in Southeast Queens without someone mentioning her name. She has not only helped her community, but has motivated, encouraged and inspired her fellow law enforcement officers to get more involved,” the 39-year-veteran Clarke said.
Born from Jamaican parents, Duhaney said it has been her mission to improve the relationship between police and civilians.
“In the 113 [Precinct], a lot of people are fearful of walking into the precinct, but I think we changed that to where now we can’t keep people out of there,” Duhaney told the NY Daily News. “People will in come in and want to volunteer and sit in the office for hours.”
Duhaney has a long resume of community service, from organizing youth camping trips to city parks, as well as visits to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for the elderly. She is also known for her “Christmas in July” event helping kids in shelters, and for launching a summer youth program for high schoolers to volunteer in the precinct.
Perhaps one of her more memorable good deeds was her actions commemorating the Aamir Griffin, a 14-year-old who died after being struck by a stray bullet while playing basketball.
Duhaney organized the installation of a commemorative bench for Griffin to be placed outside his mother’s home, and had an artist design a mural for the court Griffin was shot at.
“This effort wasn’t led by elected officials or community groups but by a New York City police detective,” said local pastor Rev. William Armstead. “She actually brought that community together and showed love through words and deeds.”
Another of Duhaney’s contributions is her annual Prom Impact, where prom dresses are donated for girls to wear to the prom.
“She gets hundreds of girls coming in. She gets donations from everywhere, but some of it comes from her own pocket,” Clarke said.
Finally, Duhaney ensured that a 95-year-old WII-veteran and retired Detective William Brown received a proper burial when no one came to claim his body.
Duhaney is still involved in the community, more recently attending community marches for George Floyd.
Her explanation for her community service was simple:
“I do it because I love it, I love my community, I wanted to bridge the gap. It’s really easy. All you have to do is be kind and have compassion and you can get it done as well.”