By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Feb. 5, 2020: The recent changes to the New York State Laws on bail, discovery, and speedy trial have caused the Trustees and me to focus on our Police Department.
In that vein, I thought I would share the interworkings of the Bronxville PD to better inform all the citizens they serve and protect.
A very lean department of 21 officers, (in the past we have employed up to 28 officers), we have one Chief, Christopher Satriale, who has been Chief 12 years and on the force for 32 years. His staff includes one Lieutenant, one Detective Sergeant, one Detective, five Sergeants, and 12 officers.
For the past four years, in response to data suggesting rotating day/night tours were detrimental to sleep and general health, the Trustees and the force agreed to a schedule of steady tours. As a result, the same cadre of officers are currently on 8 am – 4 pm, 4 pm to midnight or midnight to 8 am shifts.
Not only does it appear to achieve health benefits, but a constant face on the same tour has fostered closer connections with residents and merchants. Officers also learn the rhythm of the Village, discerning whether an early morning truck is a normal delivery vs one not in the Village for positive activity.
Our department has two female officers, two Hispanic officers, and two African American officers. Twelve are specially trained as Youth Officers, and three are part of a highly trained Critical Incident/Emergency Response Team in partnership with officers from Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Pelham. One officer is a world class bagpiper, and another is a volunteer lacrosse coach at the Bronxville School.
Two officers patrol the Village in cars at any given hour of the day. We aspire to have more park and walk and bicycle officers when funding permits as currently officers must stay within close proximity of their cars just in case an emergency call comes in that requires immediate reaction.
Our officers all carry a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun and participate in firearms training three times a year. Each of our police cars is equipped with a patrol rifle and a defibrillator, which just last week saved the life of a heart attack victim on Dusenberry Road. All of our officers are trained in CPR and first aid and are the first responders to any medical emergency calls.
Our officers are currently testing body cameras, and by spring, every officer will be wearing one. We currently have 41 stationary cameras in the Village with concentration in the business districts and points of entry to the Village. In addition, there are 15 in our new parking garage on Kensington Road.
We continue to purchase with the goal of adding more in residential neighborhoods, most recently installing one at the intersection of Elm Rock and Masterton Roads.
Thanks to the intercession and support of our Assemblywoman, Amy Paulin, we will also be receiving cameras for installation at our Metro North Station.
Unlike cities such as Yonkers and White Plains, which receive special state legislation to use cameras for speeding enforcement and violations, we as a Village, can only use them for criminal investigations. The cameras help out post facto and have great evidentiary value in many crimes committed within the Village.
As to actual traffic violations, such as crossing a double yellow line, an officer must witness it personally in order to issue a ticket.
Our officers have noticed a significant uptick in traffic, especially in our downtown, due to increased Uber and Lyft cars as well as food delivery vehicles. Once a pedestrian steps into a duly marked intersection, traffic must stop on both sides of a split road such as near the soccer store and on the West Side just beyond the railroad underpass.
In addition to patrol duties, our officers provide vacant house checks, teach the staff of any institution about rapid response to incidents, and conduct safety surveys for homeowners to suggest improved security measures.
House alarms and medical emergencies are by far the most frequent calls for our PD. They are followed by thefts from autos and shoplifting.
Of late, we have had a recent spate of residential burglaries. I am pleased to share that thanks to the diligence of our officers people likely involved in our local burglaries were apprehended in Nassau County, and jewelry owned by a resident was recovered. Our officers are currently evaluating evidence, including latent fingerprints and DNA evidence. The individuals apprehended were part of a syndicate that flies from Chile to commit these crimes.
Our goal of increasing walking patrols and speed surveillance has been stymied by the passage of the new law relating to discovery procedures, which has already proven to be a clerical nightmare.
As an example, due to the provisions of the new law, a recent petit larceny arrest from CVS required seven hours of required officer clerical time to document this one crime.
The same discovery rules are required even on traffic violations in the Village, which average 300 monthly. As is clear going forward, we will need extra manpower to satisfy administrative requirements, rather than use for legitimate safety needs.
I close by saying I know for certain we have the finest, most professional, most dedicated, and compassionate force in the County, and they are so grateful for your enduring support.
Photo by A. Warner
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