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.

City Swears-In Seven Police Officers

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department has bolstered its ranks, with seven recruits being sworn-in as officers during a ceremony Wednesday.

The new officers are: Justin P. Consalvo, Danielle M. Costa, Paul Henne, Kyriacos Kyriacou, Gregory Schweizer, Kevin Smith and Robert Prince.

Mayor Rob Rolison officiated, saying “This is a great day for the City of Poughkeepsie. Public safety is the utmost concern, and we have been able to replenish the ranks steadily in the effort to get us back to full force.”

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison with new officers Robert Prince, Kyriacos Kyriacou, Paul Henne, Danielle M. Costa, Kevin Smith, Justin P. Consalvo, and Gregory Schweizer.

City Police Chief Thomas Pape said, “These officers will greatly help our department curb crime and keep people safe. With the community’s help, we are making excellent strides, as demonstrated by the most recent statistics on violent crimes in the city.”

Last week, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services released trends tracked over a10-year period that show many categories of violent crimes have decreased in the City of Poughkeepsie.

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 that same timeframe.

Last year, the City of Poughkeepsie also passed measures intended to retain officers and attract them from other departments. The city has subsequently increased its ranks from 79 to 92 officers, including the officers added Wednesday.

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the Poughkeepsie Common Council Chambers at City Hall.

Violent Crime Stats: Decrease in Poughkeepsie Over a 10-Year Period

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services has released trends tracked over a 10-year period that show many categories of violent crimes have decreased in the City of Poughkeepsie.

Through its Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative, the Division of Criminal Justice Services targets 20 jurisdictions within 17 counties upstate, including the City of Poughkeepsie, and on Long Island.

Referring to trends in Poughkeepsie, Mayor Rob Rolison said, “There are highly encouraging signs here. While there always will be more work to do, the city police department and public should be proud of this headway.”

Specifically,

  • Violent crimes have dropped from 417 in 2009 to 216 in 2018, a 48.2 percent decrease.
  • Robberies are down from 206 in 2009 to 59 in 2018, a 71.4 percent decrease.
  • Burglaries have declined from 274 in 2009 to 85 in 2018, a 69 percent decrease.
  • Property crimes also have been reduced – from 1,030 in 2009 to 494 in 2018, a 52 percent decrease.
  • Larcenies have dipped from 691 in 2009 to 374 in 2018, a 45.9 percent decrease.
  • And firearm-related violent crimes have dropped from 90 in 2009 to 43 in 2018.

Last year, the City of Poughkeepsie also passed measures intended to retain officers and attract them from other departments. The city has subsequently increased its ranks from 79 to 86 officers. The city also will be swearing in six more officers on April 10.

“We’re grateful to be making progress on curbing crime in Poughkeepsie, and for the help we get from our state partners,” said City Police Chief Thomas Pape.

Though the Division of Criminal Justice Services, GIVE provides state funding to law enforcement to support operations, training and technical assistance. In 2018, GIVE jurisdictions reported the lowest ever index crime total in the 10-year period.  You can read the entire report here: http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/mayor/GIVE10YearTrendbyJurisdiction.pdf

City Police Seek Additional Information About March 11th Incidents

On Monday March 11, 2019, at approximately 4:00pm, The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department responded to the intersection of the east-bound arterial highway and Hammersley Avenue for multiple calls for a fight involving a large group of students walking home from school. The Police Department is aware of a 17-second video, posted to social media, of a police response which spanned more than ten minutes. There are multiple juveniles in the video who appear to be recording the incident with their mobile phones. The Police Department is asking the public’s assistance in identifying any witnesses to the incident and providing any additional video that may be available.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the City of Poughkeepsie Police Detective Division at 845-451-4142. 

***** Update*****

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department has obtained from a member of the community a new video taken approximately fifteen to twenty minutes prior to the Monday March 11, 2019 incident. It is believed that this incident is the precursor to the police response at Hammersley Avenue and Church Street. The Police Department is attempting to identify the victim and aggressors in this incident.  There are multiple witnesses to this incident as it was during school dismissal and two blocks from the high school. This violent, tumultuous act occurred at the intersection of South White Street and Fox Terrace. At this time the Police Department has not had any victim of this violent assault come forward to report the incident.

We appreciate the public’s patience during the investigation of this incident and are asking the community’s continued assistance in providing any information available to the City of Poughkeepsie Police Detective Division at 845-451-4142. 

This video may be disturbing to some viewers:https://adobe.ly/2JhdKGG

Traffic Alert: Friday, September 7th – First Friday PK+ThinkDIFFERENTLY: Bee the Light

On Friday, September 7th, from 1:15pm to 9:00pm, motorists should expect impacts around Market Street & Main Street during the First Friday Poughkeepsie and ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash events:

  • 1:15PM: 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.
  • 4:15PM – 8:30PM: Market St will close completely and will remain closed till end of event
  • 4:15PM: The ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash packet pick up will begin across from 22 Market Street (DMV building)
  • 5:00PM: First Friday begins (road closed from Church St-Arterial east bound to Main St County Court House.)
  • 5:15PM-6:30PM: Additional city street closures will occur on Main, Academy, and Cannon Streets see race route below
  • 5:30PM: 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 one loop around and the Queen City Mile will be two loops around.

Event Parking

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.