MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Blacks In Law Enforcement of America will host a public demonstration to protest the firing of former Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell.
Bell served as the police commissioner in the city from 2010 until his firing last month. He previously worked for the federal government in the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Lt. Richard Burke, a retired officer from the Mount Vernon Police Department, has taken over command as interim police commissioner.
Damon Jones, a member of the Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, has organized the protest, which will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Vernon City Hall.
“It is important for organizations to voice their opinions when something is wrong, but also to voice their opinions when something is right,” he said in a statement.
Bell was the highest-ranking African-American law enforcement professional in Westchester County. Until he took over, there were no African-American women in management positions. He promoted Mount Vernon’s first female sergeant last year.
According to Jones, crime went down 7 percent from 2011 to 2013 under Bell’s watch.
“He strived to hire a department that racially reflected the community that it served. He believed and promoted policies of community policing,” Jones said. “If we couldn’t get it right in Mount Vernon, where they have the most officers of color, then what do we expect from the others?”
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