City of Poughkeepsie Gets Federal Aid to Bolster City Police Ranks

City of Poughkeepsie officials were joined by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney at a press conference today to outline how federal funds will bolster the city’s police ranks.

The city already has taken steps to retain officers and attract them from other departments and has increased its ranks from 79 to 89 officers. Consequently, the City is now able to access $630,000 from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funds that Congressman Maloney helped to secure in 2015. The City Police Department had to be staffed at a certain level to be eligible to use the funds.

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison addresses a news conference today in Poughkeepsie as Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, at left, looks on. They were joined by City of Poughkeepsie police officials to outline how federal funds will bolster the City’s police ranks.

“We appreciate Congressman Maloney’s leadership and determination to see the city get to the point where we could make use of these funds,” Mayor Rob Rolison said. “The congressman continues to be strong advocate for the City and for addressing its needs.”

“Our brave police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, which is why I’ve made it my priority to fight for the resources they need to keep crime off our streets. I’m proud to stand with Mayor Rolison and Police Chief Pape as we celebrate new hires on the force and safer communities in the Hudson Valley,” said Congressman Maloney.

Since joining Congress in 2013, Congressman Maloney has fought for significant investments to police and fire departments throughout the Hudson Valley. Funding for police has been used primarily to hire more police officers and fortify community policing efforts.

This grant will enable the City to hire up to five additional police officers.

City Police Chief Thomas Pape said, “These officers will greatly aid our department to curb crime and do more community policing. The City is firmly committed to public safety, as demonstrated by recently released statistics showing most categories of violent crimes have dropped dramatically over the last decade.”

Earlier this year, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services released trends tracked over a10-year period that show violent crimes dropped from 417 in 2009 to 216 in 2018, a 48.2 percent decrease. Robberies, burglaries, and property crimes also have fallen by 50 percent or more during that same timeframe.

The City’s Police Officer Retention Program has raised salaries for officers, keeping the City competitive with its neighbors and other regional police departments. As a result, the City has restored the community policing unit, which allows officers to concentrate on patrolling particular areas of the city in order to form a stronger bond with the citizens living and working there.

The City also has placed a school resource officer in the Poughkeepsie City School District.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash – Friday, September 6th – Traffic Notice & Parking Information

Join us Friday, Sept. 6, 5-8:30pm, at 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie as First Friday Poughkeepsie partners with Dutchess Tourism, Inc. to present the 4th Annual ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash. Come celebrate the phenomenon First Friday PK has become through the support of the City of Poughkeepsie and its amazing people!

The 4th Annual ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash is a 1 mile run/walk for individuals of all abilities in the heart of the City of Poughkeepsie. It’s the perfect way to kick off the city wide First Friday street dance party – join us in the fun!

Traffic Notice & Parking Information

NOTICE: #FirstFridayPK & the #ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash – Queen City Mile—run/walk for all abilities — will take place in #CityofPoughkeepsie Friday, 9/6/2019

  • 1:30PM Market St east side lanes will close to car traffic (from Church St. to Main St.) Only one lane (westside) will be open for vehicles.
  • 3:15PM – 8:30PM Market St will close completely and will remain closed till end of event
  • 4:30PM The ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash packet pick up will begin across from 22 Market Street (DMV building)
  • 5:00PM First Friday begins
  • 5:45PM-6:30PM Additional city street closures will occur on Main, Academy, and Cannon Streets
  • 6:00PM Think DIFFERENTLY Dash and Queen City Mile start

The Think DIFFERENTLY Dash race route is as follows: Start in front of 22 Market Street. Take right on Main Street to light at Academy St. Right on Academy to Cannon St. Right on Cannon back to Market. Right unto Market St. to finish. The Think DIFFERENTLY Dash is (1) loop around and the Queen City Mile will be (2) loops around.

1:30PM-9:00PM Motorists should expect impacts in this area

Closest event parking will be in the following locations:

Liberty Street, Academy Street, Financial Lot (high rise across from Mid-Hudson Civic Center) Carpooling is encouraged.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sign Up for City of Poughkeepsie’s Emergency Notification System

The City of Poughkeepsie is offering new ways for residents to receive emergency notifications and encourages people to sign up for them.

Through the Hyper-Reach Broadcast system, residents can select whether they want to receive notifications via email, text message or telephone call, or a combination of these options.

 “This system is cutting edge and should prove to be the most responsive to the public’s needs,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.

 The system can be used in an array of circumstances, from locating missing children to evacuating a neighborhood in the event of an emergency. You can also choose for automatic weather alerts specific for the City of Poughkeepsie. You can enter your home, business, and/or church address, or an address of a family member who lives in the City of Poughkeepsie.

 “It’s important people fill out the information carefully,” said Christopher Bodin, Network Support Specialist of the City of Poughkeepsie Police /911 system. “For instance, please be sure to choose the correct street address so that any emergency alerts affecting only your immediate area will reach you.”

 Anyone who would like to receive community alerts may register for Hyper-Reach notifications here: https://signup.hyper-reach.com/hyper_reach/sign_up_page_2/?id=75882 or call 845-205-0596. The service is available in English and Spanish.

From the down menu, you can select cell phone, voice and/or text messages, landline or home/business phone, TDD/TTY for the hearing impaired, and/or an email address. You can also choose more than one phone number or email for the specific address.

 Emergency messages will be coordinated with the assistance of the City of Poughkeepsie E-911 Center and the City of Poughkeepsie Police Public Information Office.

The system can also be used to send out non-emergency community messages, such as known road closures and community activities, to anyone who has signed up to receive alerts.

 “We’re honored to have been selected by the City of Poughkeepsie to provide its emergency alerts,” said Sam Asher, President of Hyper-Reach.  “It’s gratifying to be part of an effort to save lives and protect property and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

 If more information including any issues related to signing up, contact Christopher Bodin of the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department at 845-451-4104 or by email at [email protected]

National Night Out – August 6, 2019

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Athletic League is hosting a “National Night Out” event on Tuesday Aug. 6 to enhance the relationship between community members and law enforcement officials in a fun and positive way.

 The event, which features games, presentations and food, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. outside City Hall.

 “This is a great opportunity to explain, in a fun way, the important work our first responders do,” said Chief of Police Tom Pape. “It’s essential, especially for children, to have a clear understanding that police officers and other first responders are there to help, to put the public’s safety first.”

The event will feature demonstrations by the police department’s K-9 unit, bicycle and motorcycle patrols. Other first responders will be attendance as well.

 “This is a good way to introduce kids to our first responders with a hands-on approach — they can touch the vehicles and equipment and ask questions and interact with the workers,” said Karen Zirbel, the department’s school resource officer and one of the event’s organizers.

National Night Out also will feature foods, including hotdogs, cotton candy, popcorn and slushy machines. There will be a petting zoo, DJ, bouncy house, face painting, and over 70 community partners and vendors.  Free books also will be distributed during the event to promote literacy.

 The Police Athletic League is funded solely by donations, and 100 percent of the proceeds go back into the City of Poughkeepsie community. The organization’s mission is to decrease the number of youth involved in criminal activity and to increase their involvement in positive activities, such as softball games, fishing derbies, and bowling tournaments. The league has sponsored some sporting teams and events for local children and runs the Adopt-A-Family Holiday Toy Drive and Delivery each year. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/PoughkeepsiePAL  

Celebrated the first Tuesday in August, National Night Out brings out millions of people across the country. Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much more.

Find out more at https://natw.org.

City of Poughkeepsie Release Results of Community Survey on Policing

The City of Poughkeepsie has received the results of surveys sent to randomly selected households to gauge the public’s feelings about community-police interactions. The surveys included dozens of questions, ranging from people’s perception and fear of crime to their satisfaction and encounters with police.

For instance, when asked to rate the safety of their neighborhood, 65 percent responded their neighborhood is safe or very safe, compared to 11 percent saying their neighborhood is very dangerous or dangerous.

The surveys were sent out in English and Spanish and could be filled out anonymously. They were initially mailed to 3,000 residents across the eight wards within the City of Poughkeepsie. Reminder postcards were sent out two weeks after the initial mailing, and an additional 800 surveys were sent out to the four least responsive wards. There were a total of 389 surveys returned, a 10.24 percent response rate.

“We appreciate those who took the time to fill out the survey,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “But our work is far from done. Our outreach efforts will occur on a continuing basis. Our officers are out on the streets every day interacting with people in positive ways.”

The Marist College Center for Social Justice Research aided with the survey and tabulated the results.

“The Marist Center for Social Justice Research (MCSJR) facilitates interdisciplinary research teams of faculty, students, and community partners to conduct engaged social science research with direct impact on the mid-Hudson Valley region,” said Dr. Carol Rinke, Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Marist Center for Social Justice Research (MCSJR).

“For this project, MCSJR partnered with the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department to collect, analyze, and report on data from the 2018 community survey.”

The survey is just one of many initiatives the police department has undertaken to strengthen community relations. Earlier this year, police placed a school resource officer in the City of Poughkeepsie School District, improved the complaint form process and restored the community policing unit. The department is working on other strategies, including equipping the officers with body cameras and completing implicit bias training. 

“The survey is helpful,” said Police Chief Tom Pape. “It gives us insights about what the community is thinking. That will aid us out in the streets, and as we continue with our internal training and public outreach efforts.”

The results of this survey come on the heels of a report from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showing a decrease in crime in the city. Specifically, violent crimes have dropped from 417 in 2009 to 216 in 2018, a 48.2 percent decrease. And robberies, burglaries and property crimes also have fallen by 50 percent or more during the same timeframe.

You can read the results of the survey here: http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/police/ProceduralJustice_survey_results.pdf

City Will Take Part in “Operation See! Be Seen!” Campaign

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department will once again participate in the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s “Operation See! Be Seen!” campaign, designed to raise awareness about keeping pedestrians safe across the state.

During this two-week campaign, from June 14 through June 27, city police will be patrolling busy pedestrian corridors and issuing warning notices, tickets and informative tip cards to both motorists and pedestrians found violating the law. More than a dozen law enforcement agencies, including Poughkeepsie, will cover 20 “focus communities” identified in the statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, where pedestrian crash volume is highest outside of New York City.

 “We take this matter seriously,” said City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pape. “Making sure pedestrians are safe is imperative, particularly in a walkable city like Poughkeepsie.”

Hannah Early, at left, and Chelsea Schwarze, use a crosswalk on Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie to make their way during a lunch break recently. Early is the programming coordinator for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Schwarze is member relations director for the Chamber.

State officials point out that more than 25 percent of motor-vehicle-related fatalities are pedestrians. The majority of those, 61 percent, were related to driver actions, while 37 percent were deemed to be caused by pedestrian actions.

The education campaign emphasizes the “See! Be Seen!” message for both drivers and pedestrians. For instance, drivers must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. They should not block crosswalks when stopped at intersections. They should always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red.

Pedestrians must cross at intersections and marked crosswalks. They should use pedestrian push-buttons where available and wait for the signal to cross. They are reminded that, when no sidewalks are available, they should walk facing traffic so they see vehicles and drivers see them.

“With the warmer weather,” City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison noted, “There are more people walking in the city. It’s an encouraging sign to see, but it also means drivers have to stay alert at crosswalks and in other places attracting pedestrians.”

Mayor Rolison said the city has been embracing the “complete-streets” concept, which means equal consideration should be given to all users of the street — including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with limited mobility.  The city has formed a Complete Streets Working Group and will be doing outreach with the public and other stakeholders.

The state’s enforcement mobilization is part of the broader Pedestrian Safety Action Plan being implemented by the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Department of Health and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s

Last year, the city was awarded $2,430,000 as part of the plan’s grant program. The statewide initiative calls for a systemic approach to address pedestrian safety issues and provides funding to local governments to implement low-cost, high-impact improvements at known hazardous locations. 

The city will use the PSAP funding along corridors, intersections and uncontrolled crosswalks where the highest pedestrian traffic exists and where past accidents have occurred, including sites along Main, Mansion, and Market streets.  Interventions will include upgrading high-visibility crosswalks and signage, installing countdown pedestrian timers, and in some locations introducing curbed pedestrian refuges at crosswalks.

Resources:

To learn more about “Operation See! Be Seen!” and the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, visit the GTSC Pedestrian Safety page, go to:
www.safeny.ny.gov/peds-ndx.htm and www.ny.gov/programs/pedestrian-safety-action-plan

Traffic Advisories – June 7th & June 9th

The City of Poughkeepsie has announced two traffic advisories – one for Friday, June 7, the other for Sunday, June 9.

Friday, June 7th

On Friday, June 7, there will be a parade honoring the Poughkeepsie High School basketball and crew teams as New York State champions. The parade will run from Catharine Street to Main Street to Civic Center Plaza, across Mill Street (44/55 westbound arterial) to City Hall, where a small ceremony will take place. Once the ceremony is completed, the teams will be escorted on their float to Mansion Square Park for further festivities at the First Friday event being held there. The parade steps off at approximately 4 p.m. There will be intermittent and temporary road closures during this event.  Please plan accordingly.

Sunday, June 9th

On Sunday, June 9, there will be a Pride Parade. This parade will begin on Market Street and will necessitate the closing of Market Street between Church Street and Main Street, and Cannon Street between Academy Street and Market Street, beginning at roughly 11 a.m.  When the parade steps off, at approximately 1pm, it will go from Market Street down Main Street to Waryas Park, where there will be a festival following the parade. Again, expect intermittent and temporary road closures from approximately 11 a.m. until approximately 2 p.m.

City Police Give Detailed Updates to Common Council

On Monday, April 29, City of Poughkeepsie police officials gave detailed insights into their work, including new initiatives involving community policing and having a school resource officer in the city school district.

Department officials made this presentation before the Common Council.

They also unveiled new feedback forms that can be used by the public for complaints and commendations of the actions by officers. Those forms are available at http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/police-department.

Department officials also gave the Common Council updates on the implementation of body cameras for officers and training in procedural justice and understanding implicit bias.

Recently, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services released statistics showing a decrease in crime in the city. Specifically, violent crimes have dropped from 417 in 2009 to 216 in 2018, a 48.2 percent decrease. And robberies, burglaries and property crimes also have fallen by 50 percent or more during the same timeframe.

City of Poughkeepsie Unveils Police Initiatives, Including New School Resource Officer & Online Reporting Forms

City of Poughkeepsie Police Department officials and city leaders address students at a rally at the Poughkeepsie Middle School Tuesday, May 23, when the department’s school resource officer was introduced.

The City of Poughkeepsie is firmly committed to public safety, as demonstrated by recently released statistics showing most categories of violent crimes have dropped dramatically over the last decade and by the city’s hiring of new officers, bringing the police department back to full strength for the first time in three years. But city officials are not stopping there.

Mayor Rob Rolison and Police Chief Thomas Pape are rolling out ambitious plans to build on the momentum regarding public safety.

“We have made great strides,” Mayor Rolison said. “But there is more we can do, and I’m proud how the police department has responded to the challenge.”

This week, the police department completed several important tasks and will implement other proposals in 2019. They include:

  • Placing a school resource officer in the City of Poughkeepsie School District. The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program has been known to create a safer school environment and bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement, establishing a channel of communication that can make all the difference in school and later in life for youth. SROs make students, faculty, staff and parents feel welcome, but also provide private and confidential appointments when necessary. On Tuesday, Officer Karen Zirbel was introduced to students at rallies at the Poughkeepsie middle and high schools as the police department’s school resource officer. “I’m not here to punish people,” she told the students, “I’m here to help.”
  • Improving the complaint form process. These forms are used when the public has questions about police procedures and policies. The city has enhanced its complaint process by improving accessibility and by developing a new easy-to-use online reporting tool. Forms can be used to file civilian complaints and for commendations for the actions of officers. Submitted forms will be reviewed by a member of the command staff and assigned to the appropriate supervisor for action. The forms are available at http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/police-department.
  • Restoring the community policing unit. This unit was dissolved in 2011 as a result of budget cuts. This week, the city designated two officers to begin community policing addressing quality of life issues around the Main Street corridor. Community policing keeps officers patrolling the same area in order to form a stronger bond with the citizens living and working there. The city plans to add officers to this cause when six new recruits graduate the police academy later this year.
  • Working effectively with SNUG. Operation SNUG (guns spelled backwards) is a statewide implementation of the Cure Violence model in New York. The city recently asked local SNUG officials to make changes in the schedules of outreach workers to have more of a presence when students are let out of school. “We appreciate how quickly Danny Hairston, SNUG coordinator at Family Services, Inc., and his team responded to our requests, in light of some of the activity we have seen by some students after they leave school grounds,” said Police Chief Pape. The chief said police regularly respond to reports of students fighting in and around the schools after dismissal.
  • Equipping the officers with body cameras. Over the next five years, the city will invest $510,120 in equipment, and initial deployment of this new resource will start this fall. First, there will be a pilot program involving six cameras, but the city has committed to 65 cameras and supportive equipment, such as docking stations. The city has consulted with experts, including civil rights attorneys, to develop policies that comply with federal and state laws and follow best practices. The cameras will provide more transparency about how officers operate in the field – and about the situations to which they respond.
  • Completing implicit bias training for officers. The police department completed procedural justice training in December, and the implicit bias training is scheduled to be finished by this fall. Procedural justice focuses on the way police interact with the public, with the understanding that treating people with dignity and respect and giving citizens a voice during encounters promotes community trust. Building upon this training, officers are focusing on learning more about implicit bias, the automatic association people now make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups. Studies have shown that people and institutions can act on racial prejudices, in spite of the best of intentions and nondiscriminatory policies or standards. Additionally, a committee including police officers, some Common Council members and community members will meet as often as necessary to address community concerns as they relate to police relations.
  • Improving the diversity ranks. City officials met with Dutchess County civil service officials recently to discuss exam requirements. They also met with members of the Upsilon Tau Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. This group is devoted to creating local interest in careers in law enforcement, focusing on minorities. The city police also conducts a “Careers in Law Enforcement” program for local students, in part, to create a path for more diversity on the force.
  • Building on the success of the officer retention package. The program raises salaries for officers to keep the city competitive with its neighbors and other regional police departments. This package will make it easier to keep and hire officers. Over the last year, the city has been able to increase its ranks from 79 to 92 officers, bringing the staff to full strength.
  • Addressing any issues raised in a Poughkeepsie police survey. That survey was sent out to 3,000 randomly selected households last year to gauge the public’s feelings about community-police interactions. The Marist College Center for Social Justice Research is tabulating the results of that survey.
  • Collaborating with the public for help. Police can’t do it alone. Curbing crime takes a comprehensive effort, with community members coming forward when necessary to report crime or what they may have witnessed. Anyone with information about crime can reach the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department at 845-451-7577. The city also pays $250 to anyone who provides information leading to the recovery of an illegal gun and $500 for information leading to an arrest of a person possessing an illegal gun. All such reports are entirely confidential.

Moving forward with these measures comes on the heels of a report from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showing a decrease in crime in the city. Specifically, violent crimes have dropped from 417 in 2009 to 216 in 2018, a 48.2 percent decrease. And robberies, burglaries and property crimes also have fallen by 50 percent or more during the same timeframe.

“This is great news for the community and a testament to the hard work done by our police department,” Mayor Rolison said. “We look forward to working with the community to make Poughkeepsie as safe as possible so people can live, work and prosper here in our city.”

Resources:

Traffic Advisory – April 16th & April 17th

On Tuesday and Wednesday (April 16th &17th), from roughly 8am until 6pm, HBO will be filming in the area of Mt. Carmel Pl., Delafield St., Hoffman St., Bain Ave., Washington St., and Verazzano Blvd.

Parking is restricted in those areas.  Temporary “No Parking” signs have been placed with the appropriate dates and times.  Vehicular traffic will be affected as intermittent road closures will be necessary.  Please plan accordingly.