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From the Mayor: Consistent and Now Familiar Faces of Our Police Officers PDF Print Email

By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville

Oct. 26, 2016:  Many of you have commented favorably upon seeing consistent and now familiar faces of our police officers at certain times of day.

It made me realize that I had not shared the experimental change we recently made in the police department.

Honestly, it was the result of collaboration and listening at their best  The officers in the department reached out to the chief with the idea of trying “steady work shifts” vs the traditional “rotating shifts” that were the norm.  Working together with the trustees, the police department forged a very workable test period.

As background, police departments nationwide often had officers rotate through all three shifts – day, evening, and overnight on a weekly, sometimes, monthly basis.

In the past decade, as science has highlighted the relationship between quality sleep and long term health, police departments have started to revisit traditional patterns of operation.

Science has demonstrated that frequent changes in sleep habits result in the body being awake when it expects to be asleep, resulting in the release of hormones in higher levels than the normal amount related to that time of day.

Over time, this hormonal imbalance can lead to higher rates of cancer and heart disease. Added to this, the “shift sleep debt” results in human errors – one of the major causes of the accidents at Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez – and particularly affects those having to drive a car. One’s ability to adjust properly to shift work also deteriorates with age and has become a contributing reason to why officers opt to retire at relatively young ages.

Slightly over 25% of workers in Europe and the U.S. are “shift workers” (defined as working outside of the 7:00 am to 6:00 pm window), and 83% would prefer a fixed shift if offered.

Drilling down locally, the fixed shift experiment has been overwhelmingly positive – so positive that we have extended the trial period through 2017.

Some of the benefits include:

  • First and foremost, officer health and morale and increased productivity. When an officer knows his or her post in a more intimate way, irregularities or suspicious/out of the ordinary activities can be spotted more quickly and addressed.

As example, an officer will learn the vehicles of the early morning newspaper and delivery people as well as the pattern of residents having car services wait in their driveways. The out-of-the-ordinary is then much easier to spot.

  • The regularity of officers’ schedules has bred a familiarity that has fostered greater connections with our village residents, which the officers have relished.

In particular, it has increased the school/police department/student connection. If you see a police car in front of the school or an officer in the halls, he is probably there to familiarize himself with the school layout, exits, and entry points and meeting and greeting students in the process.

To further foster the connectivity, I thought a little background/color on the now familiar faces you see on the current day shift (8:00 am to 4:00 pm) might spark some shared topics.

The two sergeants assigned to day shifts are Erik van derLeeuw and Bart Sandarciero. Erik is an avid and accomplished bagpiper, competing in the World Championships in Scotland every year. When at home, he is a certified rescuer of Greyhound dogs that had been used for racing. Bart is head of our tactical team. He loves to talk Giants football and is a huge fan of eating Italian food and Walter’s Hot Dogs. (sometimes on the same day!).  

Police Officer Paul Cavallo is a car enthusiast as well as one of our now many health and fitness devotees. He recently married, and his new wife is a fellow officer in the Hastings-on-Hudson Police Department. Officer Jason Cooper shares Officer Cavallo’s love of cars and a serious health and fitness regime. He is also a member of the department’s tactical team.

Officer Chris Blessington is an avid sports fan with a special love of football, and he is known to listen to country music. Officer Jason Kaiser loves weight-lifting and running and shares a love of the Yankees that most of us do. (Save for our police chief, who is a Mets and Dallas Cowboys fan!) He is also a pet rescuer, caring for homeless and abused cats.

We have a terrific police department with morale in the stratosphere and a collegial relationship with all fellow staffers and elected officials that make for a truly special working place.


From the Mayor: History of Memorial Day in Bronxville

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville May 16, 2018:  As Memorial Day approaches, I decided to dig a little deeper into Bronxville’s history of observing the day. Our...

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