By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Jan. 30, 2019: As a village of only 6,500 residents, we benefit from being embracingly “small” and truly getting to know each other. After serving the village for 30-plus years, I realized I mention Police Chief Christopher Satriale often but in a very business-like fashion. So, much to his chagrin, I chose to do an “up close and personal" on Christopher Satriale.
Born right here at Lawrence Hospital, Chris spent all of his formative years growing up in Eastchester, graduating from Eastchester High School in 1986.
While studying at Pace University, he decided to take the civil service exam and finished so high on the list that police department offers were aplenty. Our Bronxville predecessors thankfully saw his potential and made an immediate offer, rushing him to Dr. Taylor on Studio Arcade for a same-day physical! And the rest is history. (He still owes his dad a now 31-year promise to finish his degree.)
He met his wife, Nicole, at the gas station in Chester Heights across from her family-owned Chester Heights Pastry Shop. In a rather dubious story of their meeting (he still sticks to a flat tire excuse!), they married in 1997 and moved to Pleasantville.
Chris and Nicole raised three athletically talented young men in Pleasantville as a consummate volunteer coach, a “Dad’s Club” member, and an active parishioner at Holy Innocents Church. He and Nicole spent many weekends going in two different directions traveling to “garden spot” travel team venues.
They also have two rescue dogs, one of which he likes. In what I believe must be the result of an undetected childhood fall, he is a rabid Dallas Cowboy fan and raised his boys to drink the Kool-Aid! In fairness, he does like the Mets, but our own Yankees, Giants, and Jets are roundly scorned – perhaps grounds for termination?!
Forcing him to sit down with me, I learned he thinks of Bronxville as his first home, as he spends so much of his time here and knows people in a very deep and meaningful way. In fact, he said the hardest part of his job is feeling the loss of great residents through their passing.
As to how the village police department has changed, the chief knows technology has been the biggest driver.
While on patrol 31 years ago, officers brought an a.m. radio from home to hear the news and weather, as all they had was the police frequency. Their work tools were a pad and random pens. Now they have tasers, scanners, laptops, in-car printers, and 36 cameras throughout the village.
What he is most proud of is the certified training of now 11 of our 17 patrol officers as Youth Officers and the hospitality of the Bronxville School in offering space for these officers to just come in and talk to the kids. As a result, officers now often eat lunch in the cafeteria, know children by name, their hobbies, and sometimes their fears.
This is especially important since Columbine and 9/11, as officers and institutions have to be actively involved together and prepared to handle the potential dangers of big public gatherings, and the term "lockdown drill" is, unfortunately, part of our children’s lexicon.
As to youth behavior, the chief has noticed a progression from acts of vandalism as the major offense when he was a young officer on patrol to increased events involving drugs and alcohol.
He believes the department is doing a superior job as to the criminal facet of the department with a demonstrable arrest record relating to recent post office scams, bank robberies, and personal crimes. On a very comforting note, when a resident needs help in the village, an officer is there within one to two minutes of receiving a call.
As to final words of advice, the chief believes in simple common sense and gut feelings.
The adage "if you see something, say something" has proven the wisest advice in countless situations. When canvassing a village neighborhood after a police event, it never fails that a neighbor says, “Oh, I did see an odd van or a funny night delivery but I just didn’t call the police desk.” The same is true about the proliferation of phone scams of late. If it seems just too good to be true, it most assuredly is. The desk officer is there 24/7 at 337-0500, and the chief says just call.
What he laments most is his inability to do more on the quality-of-life issues--more bike and walking patrols and distracted driving and speed monitoring. This would require some increase in the current size of our force, which a community conversation invites.
As to the change in adult behavior, it all ties into the above. The chief has witnessed that driving habits, in particular, have become less considerate and more aggressive, with electronic devices posing a huge distraction. His advice is simple: “Just slow down a little in life and not live it in one mad rush.”
We are blessed beyond measure to have Chief Satriale leading our department, as they come no finer.
Pictured here: Mayor Mary C. Marvin and Police Chief Christopher Satriale.
Photos by A. Warner
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