RPD moving ahead with reorganization
Updated: Friday, February 14 2014, 11:21 AM EST
Rochester, N.Y. - The Rochester Police Department surveyed close to 400 people asking them if they felt safe and how they felt about police officers. While the results weren't surprising, they were troubling. Close to 46 percent of people surveyed said they didn't trust the police department. Almost 34% of people said they didn't feel safe at night in their own neighborhood.
Interim Police Chief Mike Ciminelli said the department is already working on trying to rebuild trust by getting officers back in neighborhoods, to restore both faith in the department and give people a sense of security.
Mayor Lovely Warren said she agrees with the chief that they cannot wait to make changes. She is in the process of developing a plan to reorganize the department. It will be a return to community policing. There will be four or five smaller police sections, so that police are patrolling smaller areas.
They will also have more time to get out of the car and interact with people in neighborhoods. Chief Ciminelli said the survey found that the more positive encounters people had with police, the better they liked them.
Though the reorganization itself won't happen for another year, Ciminelli said patrols are already being changed to give officers more time in neighborhoods. There will be a continued emphasis on minority recruitment, and recruits will also be given the chance to interact with the community and with crime victims before they leave the academy.
Neighborhood advocates like Joan Roby-Davison said people in the community welcome a return to more community policing. She said they want to know that when they dial 911 an officer will respond and they want to have contact with police on their streets.
She said that doesn't mean just driving by in a squad car. They want foot patrols, and a chance to interact with police.
Roby-Davison was on the committee in 2004 when the seven police sections were reorganized into an East and West Patrol Division. Roby-Davison said the moved saved millions of dollars in police overtime, but she admitted, it may not be working now.
Mayor Lovely Warren said police officers and their union feel smaller sections is safer for officers. She said it's also something the community has demanded.