MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - In their continued efforts to build cohesion between the Mount Vernon Police Department and the community, officers took to the streets to “stop and shake” hands with the people they are tasked with protecting.
This weekend, members of the Mount Vernon Police Department joined Mayor Richard Thomas for the first ever “Stop the Violence” SNUG “pop-up” basketball tournament on Madison Avenue as part of “Stop and Shake,” a community initiative, founded by anti-violence activist Hector Santiago to “facilitate conversation and connection between law enforcement and residents.”
Police officers will be “stopping and shaking” at community events citywide, where residents are encouraged to approach officers, introduce themselves and get to know the department’s finest.
“Enabling our police officers to engage with the community and have a conversation with the people they serve helps them be better officers,” Mount Vernon Deputy Commissioner of Special Initiatives Shawn Harris said. “We are focused on reaching out to the community on a daily basis. Increasing conversation, especially with our young, leads to trust, mutual respect and a stronger (city).”
Thomas said that the police department is being modeled on the 21st century policing model spearheaded by President Barack Obama.
“We are transforming the Mount Vernon Police Department into one that is more connected and better engaged with the people of Mount Vernon,” he said. “Strong relationships between law enforcement and the residents is key to keeping our streets safe, crime low, and our community secure.
“The work will show for itself that we are connecting the disconnects. Churches, non-profits, community members and business leaders have all come out this weekend to unite as one Mount Vernon family.”