Newspaper article on Troopers working with Syracuse Police Officers for Operation IMPACT

Newspaper article on Troopers working with Syracuse Police Officers for Operation IMPACT
PBA, 2004-09-17

The following newspaper article was published in the September 17, 2004 edition of The Post-Standard of Syracuse:

New initiative to fight crime in urban areas

Governor comes to Syracuse to announce addition of state police to city campaign.

Friday, September 17, 2004

By Jim O’Hara

Staff writer

Blue, black and gray blended together as city, county and state law enforcement officials came together in a South Side parking lot Thursday afternoon to formally launch a coordinated effort to attack violent crime in the hardest hit city neighborhoods.

And officials from the Southwest Community Center couldn’t have been happier.

"More is better," Executive Director Jesse Dowdell said of a police presence on the streets of the city’s South Side. "Our streets are pretty bad off and the only way to change it is to work with the police."

Dowdell said he believes the Syracuse community has developed a good working relationship with the Syracuse Police Department, especially during the recent administration of Chief Dennis DuVal and with the new administration of Chief Steven Thompson. He said he looks forward to it continuing with the Operation IMPACT (Integrated Municipal Police Anti-Crime Teams) program that Gov. George Pataki christened in the community center’s parking lot Thursday afternoon.

"With the policeman on the street standing behind us, we

have a little more clout," Dowdell said.

"Operation IMPACT is right here in Syracuse. We’re going to stay here until we can drive the rate of violent crime down even further," Pataki said.

"This is an exciting program. I know of no other state doing it," Pataki said of IMPACT, the $7.1 million program the governor announced earlier this year to target gun, gang, drug and violent crime in the 15 counties responsible for 80 percent of the crime outside New York City.

IMPACT details have been working in Syracuse neighborhoods for eight weeks, with teams ranging in size from about 15 to 50 officers. A working task force meets regularly to determine what type of anti-crime detail is needed, said Rick Trunfio, first chief assistant district attorney.

The focal point of Thursday’s news conference was to announce the addition of uniformed New York state troopers to the law enforcement mix for future assignments.

"In today’s atmosphere of limited resources, the city of Syracuse really, really appreciates the governor’s initiative," Thompson said.

Sheriff Kevin Walsh also gave solid backing to IMPACT.

"This is a good move in the right direction," he said.

Pataki, flanked by city police motorcycles as state police and sheriff’s patrol cars marked the perimeter of the parking lot, said IMPACT has had an affect in its first six months in Rochester where violent crime has dropped 19 percent – homicides are down 20 percent and robberies have fallen 28 percent from last year.

Chandice Haste Jackson, the Southwest Community Center’s director of Community Services, said the center has worked well with local law enforcement. It’s nice to now have state and federal officials in the mix as well, she said. "We certainly know we need police protection," she said. "We have liked what they have done in our center."

Police Benevolent Association President Jeffrey Piedmonte greeted the new program cautiously. Piedmonte said city police are not opposed to working with other agencies, as they have in the past, as long as that does not pose any threat to the union’s position in representing its members, he said.

The PBA supports making the community a safer place to live, but that can also be accomplished by filling city police vacancies and getting state police or sheriff’s deputies to handle traffic accidents on Interstates 81 and 690 in Syracuse, he said.