Albany, New York (April 5, 2006): Responding to a plan recently announced by Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Police Commissioner Kelly to add 800 police officers to the City’s force, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and 25 other state lawmakers called on these city officials to designate 400 of the new recruits as youth officers and assign them to precincts in at-risk communities citywide.
In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, Montgomery and her colleagues pointed out that youth officers’ intervention as law enforcement officials and mentors has helped stem the tide of youth violence and gang activity. "Youth officers have cultivated positive relationships with many young people in our districts," the lawmakers agreed, noting that this is especially true among men of color who are most in danger of being recruited into gangs and engaging in drug and other illegal activities."
Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly propose that the expanded police force be in place by the summer of 2007. They are recommending this expansion in response to a demographic trend -- an anticipated population increase of 200,000 over the next five years -- and due to a continuing threat of terrorism.
In discussing the positive work of police officers on the beat of community streets, the lawmakers noted that youth officers exist in every police precinct and operate programs to reduce youth violence, prevent drug use, deter gang participation, promote child safety, and improve relations between police officers and young people.
"In addition to the assignment of new youth officers, we respectfully request that you increase the funding for the important programs they run," the lawmakers said in their letter. "This action would support and extend their capacity to reach more young people in each precinct’s catchment area."
Underscoring the need for more youth officers, the lawmakers said, "Increased youth officer representation will produce positive, long-lasting outcomes for our troubled youth and go far to protect the public, which is the basic mission of our law enforcement community."
Senator Montgomery and her colleagues asked the Mayor and Commissioner to respond to their requests. Among the lawmakers who signed on to the letter with Montgomery are: Senator Carl Andrews, Senator John Sabini, Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Jr., Senator Kevin Parker, Senator Martin Malave Dilan, Senator John Sampson, Senator Liz Krueger, Senator Malcolm Smith, Senator Jose Serrano, Senator George Onorato, Senator Martin Connor, Senator Ruben Diaz, Senator Thomas Duane, Senator Jeffrey Klein, Senator Eric Schneiderman, Senator Ada L. Smith, Senator Toby Stavisky, Senator Diane Savino, Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, Assemlyman Felix Ortiz, Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Assemblyman James Brennan and Assemblyman Nick Perry.