New Rochelle Police Officer Jamillah Blair, 29, has been suspended with pay by the New Rochelle Police Department after her arrest early this morning by Westchester County Police. Blair was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Blair was booked at county police headquarters in Hawthorne and is scheduled to appear in Pelham Town Court on March 11.
According to Westchester County Police spokesman Kieran O'Leary, officers responded to a report of a head-on collision on the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway near Wolfs Lane in Pelham at 3:13 a.m. A motorist who was driving north in a 2010 Chevy sedan collided with a 2004 Cadillac SRX sports utility vehicle (pictured above) that was stopped in the road way and facing the wrong way. Blair allegedly exited her vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Westchester County Police put out an APB to police departments in and around Pelham to be on the lookout for the driver of the vehicle. County police responded to the home of the vehicle’s registered owner and determined that the car was being operated by a family member who was a police officer. Blair was arrested in New Rochelle about an hour after the accident occurred.
Westchester County police have not completed their investigation so have not officially determined whether Blair spun out or was driving the wrong way but did confirm the vehicle was stationary when it was struck by the oncoming vehicle.
The driver of the other vehicle, a 45-year-old Yonkers man, was taken to Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx with non-life threatening chest injuries.
Jamillah Blair has had previous problems with the police, sources tell Talk of the Sound. Last year, when Jamillah Blair was living with a female roommate, police were called to her residence after a complaint of a "domestic dispute" in the home. She previously lived with her brother, Napoleon Blair and during that time, her brother was twice arrested on drug charges.
Jamillah Blair is the granddaughter of Napoleon Holmes, former President of the New Rochelle Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and owner of Club Hollywood, a notorious nightclub in downtown New Rochelle that was once the scene of a shoot-out between patrons in the club and New Rochelle police.
Blair struggled to become a police officer. Due to her small stature (she is said to be 5 feet tall and weigh well below 100 pounds), the New Rochelle Police Department made accommodations especially for her so that she could qualify as an officer. During her probationary period, Blair misplaced her shield and police ID. Both had to be replaced by the department.
Blair began her law enforcement career as a Community Service Officer with the New Rochelle Police Department but later qualified as a New Rochelle police officer. She was often assigned to duty at New Roc City where the short, petite officer and is a familiar face to kids and young adults who frequent the entertainment complex
Given her political connections and status as one of the few black female officers on the force in New Rochelle, her problems before, during and after becoming a police officer and the special treatment she received when attempting to qualify, some residents have already begun to raise concerns that an unqualified candidate was brought onto the force solely to satisfy certain political considerations with little concern for public safety.
City of New Rochelle officials did not respond to requests for comment on the arrest of yet another NRPD officer. Police officer Blair is the second New Rochelle officer arrested in the past two years. In 2008, Sergeant David Rodriguez was arrested on charges of 1st degree rape in a case involving a 17-year old girl.
To a large extent, these incidents can be attributed to Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll who has for years taken a cavalier, "anything goes" attitude (see here and here) towards illegal or unethical conduct by police officers -- including alcohol abuse -- as part of a broader "above the law" attitude which he has allowed to permeate throughout the department.
UPDATE: The Journal News is reporting that Carroll told the Journal News that the incident could become a basis for dismissal, after a departmental hearing when the criminal charges have been decided. The paper also reports that Blair is the sixth off-duty law enforcement officer from Westchester accused of drunken driving since December."