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New Rochelle Committee On Community Policing Recommends Radical Transformation of New Rochelle Police Department

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New Rochelle Committee On Community Policing Recommends Radical Transformation of New Rochelle Police Department

November 23, 2015 - 23:57
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle Committee On Community Policing (“NRCPP”) will issue a report tomorrow, in the works for months, that calls for a radical reorganization of the New Rochelle Police Department to focus on Community Policing, the allocation of police officers to particular areas so that they become familiar with the local inhabitants. The NRCPP envisions targeting three areas in particular: the Lincoln Avenue corridor, parts of the West End, and the downtown.

Talk of the Sound has obtained an advance copy of the NRCPP report (linked here): New Rochelle Committee On Community Policing FInal Report

The report concludes that the police department needs to add 10 new officers as part of the 2016 Budget to raise the number of sworn officers from its current number of 157 to 167.  In order to fund 10 new officers, the CIty of New Rochelle would need to make cuts elsewhere in the Proposed 2016 Budget, already at the tax levy cap of 0.82% increase, or break the tax levy cap which requires a 5-2 super-majority on City Council.

During a press conference at City Hall two weeks ago to announce the 2016 proposed budget, Strome said, he did consider breaking the tax cap but he did not believe there would be support for a budget that exceeded the tax levy cap. Asked if there would be any increase in emergency responders Strome said there would be no increase in the number of police officers or firefighters under the proposed budget.

The report envisions an increase in demand for police officers due to a trend of reductions in mandatory sentences for non-violent offenders (i.e. drug dealers) and expected downtown development.

At its peak, in 2000, the New Rochelle Police Department had 187 sworn officers. Many officers — Beat Officers, Youth Officers, Housing Officers, Community Resource Officers, and Conditions Officers — were part of the P.A.C.T. Unit (“Police and Community Together”). The NRCPP recommends restructuring the NRPD by eliminating the P.A.C.T. Unit altogether and restructuring the department by having all officers involved with a new collaborative approach for community involvement.

The new plan would be similar to New York City's new “Collaborative Policing initiative” where officers spend up to 33% of their time meeting and working with community members, and identifying recurring problems and issues.

The entire department would be retrained in the Community Policing philosophy, youth programs like Gang Resistance Education and Training would be enhanced and past programs like D.A.R.E. would be brought back, create “safe spaces” for community dialog with police, designate or hire a grant writer to seek community policing grants, enhance diversity hiring, work closely with the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, create a permanent Community Policing committee, and encourage volunteerism by police officers 

Earlier this year, the New Rochelle City Council designated two representatives to the committee, Council Members Jared Rice and Louis Trangucci. The committee was chaired by Dr. Cathryn Lavery, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Iona College and Michele Rodney, Esq., Dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Monroe College. Members of the NRCCP are Jackie Agudelo, Walter Brown, Martin Cassidy Matt Costa, Esq., Bruce Daniele, Det. Chris Greco, Rev. DeQuincy Hentz, Sgt. Barry Johnson, BreeAna Jones, Cynthia Lobo, Esq., Sgt. Calvin McGee, Timothy McKnight, Claudia Perez, David Peters and Camille Edwards Thomas.