MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. Mount Vernon residents are asking the city to bring back a homicide unit and a civilian complaint review board to the police department after 21 shootings have been reported this year.
Resident Cynthia Turnquest said it is essential for Mount Vernon to have a homicide unit with 44 killings in the city being reported since 2008. Turnquest said having a homicide unit will help save lives.
We should also re-establish a neighborhood watch and build a partnership with the police, Turnquest said.
Along with a homicide unit, resident Damon Jones, who is the New York representative for the Blacks in Law Enforcement, a police association, said having a civilian complaint review board would go a long way to building that partnership between the community and the police.
Its bad enough that a majority of the police officers in Mount Vernon are from outside the city, Jones said. This is the only way to build better relationships to solve homicides so the community can turn over the bad guys and the citizens feel safe enough to turn them over.
Councilman Richard Thomas said he spoke with Police Commissioner Carl Bell and said as he understands it, a homicide unit is being brought back though no date was given. Thomas said with continued advocacy, both a homicide unit and a civilian complaint review board can be put in place.
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