MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - With the country gripped with fear and frustration following several recent shootings, Mount Vernon is attempting to build cohesion in the community between the police force and the people they are tasked with protecting.
In the wake of police-involved shootings in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and Dallas, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas hosted a public block party over the weekend, complete fun, games, music and dancing in the streets.
The community showed a united front at the Block Party, with police officers and residents of all ages, ethnicities and color flooding city streets to dance, play music and enjoy one another’s company.
According to Thomas, this is a part of implementing President Barack Obama’s “21st Century Police Model,” having spent hundreds of hours meeting with local leaders, faith-based organizations, school officials, non-profits, businesses, the City Council and police department leaders.
“To create a safer environment, there must be trust between law enforcement agencies and the community in which they serve,” he said. “This is key to transforming our department into one that will keep our streets safe, our families protected and our city secure. We are creating a culture of accountability and transparency and moving the Mount Vernon Police Department fully into the 21st century.”
As part of that initiative, Thomas has created a 15-person Public Safety Commission that “understand the challenges Mount Vernon faces.” That Committee will host a vigil with Thomas and County Executive Rob Astorino at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at Hartley Park.
“Through embracing new ideas and investing in relationship development programs, we will combat racial profiling, provide better training, and deliver a more effective policing model for others to follow,” he added. “This is the necessary work to build trust between law enforcement and the public to triumph over tragedy and move forward.”