National Police Week honors the men and women who serve and sacrifice on behalf of law enforcement, paying special tribute to those peace officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On Monday, I was proud to participate in the dedication of a new Memorial Garden in front of our Police Headquarters on North Avenue. Thoughtfully designed by New Rochelle High School senior and Eagle Scout candidate Paul Carbone, the garden features a memorial stone for each of the eight New Rochelle Police Officers who have fallen in the past century while protecting the lives of our citizens.
In addition, a plaque honoring those same eight was remounted next to the Memorial Garden. (This plaque used to be displayed at the old police headquarters on Beaufort Place, but had been in storage since the move to new headquarters over a decade ago.)
Paul Carbone not only conceived and designed the garden, he helped secure donated materials for it and organized workers to build and install it. Paul is graduating from NRHS this spring and will start at Johns Hopkins University in the fall. I wish him all the best, and thank him for his remarkable gift to the City.
Police Commissioner Patrick J. Carroll has announced a new year of the Citizen Police Academy, a 10-week course hosted by the NRPD to introduce citizens to the law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
Instructors will be drawn from every level of the Police Department, including Commissioner Carroll and Division Commanders, each presenting his or her area of expertise.
With the slogan “Police and Community Together,” the NRPD lists the following objectives for the program:
- To encourage increased communication and interaction between the New Rochelle Police Officers and the community, which they serve.
- To dispel misconceptions about the roles, responsibilities and activities of New Rochelle Police Officers.
- To provide participants with a basic understanding of police powers and limitations imposed by Law and Police Department policy.
- To familiarize participants with the dangers, difficulties and ambiguities inherent to modern Police work.
- To foster a citizen-police partnership to combat crime and develop a safer community.
The program will be held for ten Tuesdays, beginning April 19, from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Applications are due on April 8.
New Rochelle’s public safety record continues to improve. With the final statistics for the past year now compiled, our Police Department is able to report that Part I crimes fell 12% in 2010, an improvement over what was already a historically low level of criminal activity.
Comparatively, New Rochelle retained its status as the fourth safest city of comparable size in the nation (there are about fifty cities in our population category), and the safest among the comparable municipalities of New York State and Westchester. This record is a credit to the hard work and professionalism of our police and to the active partnership of residents and community leaders.
Some specific areas of improvement include aggravated assault (down 56%), auto theft (down 43%), burglary (down 31%), and larceny (down 5%). The only significant increase was in the category of robbery, which is up 17% to a total of 98 incidents. Many of these robberies involve the theft of cell phones. You can read more in the Police Department’s Annual Report.
To be clear, even one crime is one too many, and we must always seize opportunities for further improvement. Moreover, as you may have read in the media, there have been in recent weeks some particularly serious and troubling incidents in New Rochelle about which I and many other residents are greatly concerned. My point in citing statistics is never to minimize such incidents or suggest complacency, but rather to provide an objective overall measure of community safety and place any specific event in an appropriate context.