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Mt. Vernon Commissioner Firing Angers Black Officers

Damon Jones, president of the Westchester Chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, said the group is upset over the firing of Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell.
Damon Jones, president of the Westchester Chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, said the group is upset over the firing of Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – A police group that represents black officers says it is “saddened” and “disappointed” by Tuesday's firing of Carl Bell as Mount Vernon's police commissioner.

From a law enforcement perspective, Bell was the best-suited person to modernize the department, according to Damon Jones, president of the Westchester Chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Jones said Bell also found new ways to address the influx of illegal weapons and gang violence in the city.

“Commissioner Bell attended many community meetings and always had an open door to the community as well as leading many community-policing policies within the department,” Jones said.

“Commissioner Bell addressed the many police misconduct issues," Jones continued, "and was in favor of a Civilian Complaint Review Board, something that the Mayor and the City Council have refused to commission, or fire officers who have cost the city millions of dollars in civil lawsuits.”

Bell's firing has “jeopardized” the public safety of Mount Vernon and weakened already stressed relations between the community and the MVPD, Jones said.

“At the time of his dismissal, Commissioner Bell was the highest-ranking black law enforcement official in Westchester County,” Jones said. “He will be missed.”

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