I believe the current crime problem in our City cannot wait until the next Mayor takes office; it needs to start being addressed today. That is why, as a County Legislator representing the city, I have developed a plan that has already been implemented by utilizing County resources in conjunction with the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department.
The plan currently underway includes:
- Double number of joint patrols involving City of Poughkeepsie Police Department and Sheriff’s Office personnel in crime “hot spots.”
- Eliminate the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) cap: Lobby federal government to allow Poughkeepsie PD to hire more officers and immediately address chronic understaffing.
- Increase visibility of Sheriff’s Office deputies in and around county facilities to assist the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department.
- All county-assigned officers will be Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained and certified.
- Provide Human Resource assistance to the city to speed up the timeframe to fill nine city police officer positions.
- Fast-track approval for a new Crime Assistant position at the City of Poughkeepsie PD for identification, analysis, and problem-solving.
- Deploy the county’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Team to strategic areas in coordination with City PD.
- Increase law enforcement presence through additional alcohol enforcement (“bar checks”) in coordination with City of Poughkeepsie PD, District Attorney, and Probation.
- Develop a sustained awareness and community development campaign that encourages use of the county’s 24/7 mental health HELPLINE and 911 by businesses, nonprofits, civic groups, and concerned citizens when they observe behaviors that have the potential to escalate into a dangerous situation.
The second phase of my plan consists of actions that will begin implementation on “Day One”:
- Improve communication between rank-and-file police officers and City Hall. Demonstrate to our law enforcement personnel that their work matters, and provide them with the resources they need to fight crime.
- Strengthen coordination among federal, state, county, and city law enforcement agencies.
- Employ community policing and focused patrols at the squad level utilizing existing resources.
- Require daily “situational reports” from chief of police to the Mayor’s Office.
- Add additional street cameras in the central business district and at strategic “hot spot” locations. Ask the county to install street cameras on all county buildings in the City.
- Revitalize Poughkeepsie’s civilian neighborhood watch as an “Eye on Crime” unit focused on vacant or abandoned properties that attract crime.
- Step up building code enforcement to close down “nuisance” properties and enforce city ordinances as it relates to signage and litter.
- Create dedicated hotline to answer and respond to non-emergency-related inquiries from residents and business owners.
- Set a 50 percent litter-reduction goal in the first three years of mayoralty.
- Concentrated enforcement of all city ordinances and quality-of-life crimes.
- Establish “Save Our Streets” business leaders campaign — blue check mark indicates participating small businesses that will interact with police and assist in reporting crime and other quality-of-life concerns.
- Identify top 10 blighted properties with public safety concerns and target for law enforcement patrols to reduce their capacity as crime magnets.
- Develop and deploy Neighborhood Stabilization Teams to areas with high concentrations of abandoned or vacant buildings and houses.