By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Mar. 24, 2021: In response to the Governor’s Executive Order 203, Bronxville Village Board of Trustees formed the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC). The members of the committee represented a wide array of constituents across the Village ranging from clergy, merchants, residents, students, police officers to members of the judiciary.
Committee members spent dozens of hours reviewing every aspect of our police department with candor and transparency. I thank the members of the committee who volunteered so much time and effort and I thank our Police Department for their openness and willingness to hear and incorporate suggestions.
The Village Board of Trustees approved the recommendations as presented at the March Trustees’ Meeting but the plan is a living document and in many respects the process is just beginning. So please reach out with any feedback going forward.
The entire report is on the Village website but I thought it instructive to highlight for village residents so you have a sense of what was discussed and what you may see going forward or wish to comment upon.
Summary of Findings
-The small size of our department is a clear plus as officers know each other well, thus fostering great camaraderie as well as conducive to an atmosphere that minimizes any potential for improper behavior going unnoticed.
-As a result of very little turnover in the last decade, we have a stable force that is very familiar with the community and many community members are now very familiar with our officers.
-Our police department has a demographic profile that is more diverse with respect to race and gender than most comparable forces.
-Because of our small size, we could benefit greatly from resources provided through the county or some shared service agreements with other PD’s to increase our training, with mental health expertise at the forefront of needs.
-Based on the data reviewed, there was no evidence found of systematic racial bias in the PD’s application and enforcement of laws as well as no evidence of past or current excessive use of force.
-The PD and Village government could do a better job informing the community about the roles our police play, police training, policies and activities.
-Make monthly statistics available on the Village and PD websites
-Post ten year history of statistics on the websites
-Update the civilian complaint form and make it readily accessible
-Complete an annual report of the PD and highlight significant activities and events including:
- use of force statistics
- summary of civilian complaints and their outcomes
- summary of training activity
- staffing changes
- new policies
-Re-institute the village government, police department and student government committee (with parental representation) to help develop and strengthen the bonds between our younger residents and the PD.
-Establish a liaison with the new Iona College administration and student body.
-Develop a survey on policing in the village via assistance from a third-party to include such issues:
- community interactions
- understanding of the available police services
- residents’ perception of their safety in the village
- trust in the PD
- officer performance
Areas for Enhanced Training
-Implement the Lexapro Policy Management and Training Programs which ensure that all officers are current in all changes in state and federal laws and practices.
-Require all officers to complete implicit bias training.
-Expand training programs in the area of OC/Pepper spray and other less lethal enforcement methods to all members of the PD.
-Expand de-escalation training to all members of the PD
-Expand training to include the Village of Tuckahoe and Town of Eastchester Police Departments and leverage resources with neighboring communities so as to receive additional training for mental health needs, domestic violence and substance abuse, including under age substance abuse.
-Consider utilizing new police hires for downtown and/or school walking posts.
Like any well run organization, the police department must continue to self-examine and seek avenues for improvement. The process of reviewing must become a pattern of behavior and not a onetime examination.
This holds true for all other divisions of Village government including the Department of Public Works, the administrative staff, the library staff and the Village Trustees and ancillary committees.
To that end, we will seek an effective mechanism for all departments to be reviewed on an annual basis. Having a subgroup of the Police Community Relations Committee take a role as an ongoing advisory resource to help evaluate all Village departments on a regular basis is a possible solution.
Our police department, under the leadership of Chief Satriale, has already acted on recommendations and will be engaging in De-escalation and Less Lethal Training in April. The following can be found on the police website www.BronxvillePD.com:
-Use of force policy
-Ten years of monthly reports
-Ten years of use of force statistics
-Civilian complaint form
-Compliment an Officer form
To garner further information and view the full report, head to this site as well.
Photo by A. Warner
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
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