The Civic Scene: Neighborhood leaders receive police insight

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The Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association Inc. is a volunteer citywide organization composed of graduates of the New York Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy program. This program was created so New York City residents could learn how the police are trained and what situations they face.

At weekly classes at the police academy in Manhattan, neighborhood leaders receive lectures about the training the police recruits receive and take part in simulations of possible dangerous situations so they can understand the obstacles an officer might face.

The new Board of the Citizens Police Academy consists of neighborhood leaders who decided to join after participating in the training program. Their objective is to work in their neighborhoods to improve public safety in every precinct in our city.

The newly elected officers are Heidi Harrison Chain, president of the association who also is president of the 112th Precinct Community Council; Elizabeth Gill, executive vice president, who also is president of the 47th Precinct Community Council; William Buzzone, re-elected Queens South vice president, who also is treasurer of the 107th Precinct Community Council, and vice president of the West Cunningham Park Civic Association; Dorothy Phelan, elected Queens North vice president, who was president of the 115th Community Council.

Other members elected to the Board of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association were Manhattan North Vice President Michael Hughes; Manhattan South Vice President Phil Lalumia; Brooklyn North Vice President Rabbi Joseph Garber; Brooklyn South Vice President Brenda Huto; Joseph Aranka as corresponding secretary; and John Canavan as recording secretary. All are volunteers.

The organization has volunteered in the past to fingerprint children for safety purposes and has run seminars on public safety issues for the general public. Citizens who want to take police academy training should contact the community affairs officers at their local police precinct.


It is good that the school system reports crime incidents so the public can know where there are problems and can judge the efforts to reduce any crime in our schools.

One daily newspaper reported that high school crime incidents overall declined 14.7 percent. Newsday explained that a school with 18 incidents had an overall drop of 37.7 percent of incidents. This is fair and accurate reporting. Now, if it would only print the more positive stories about our high schools, which it receives weekly.

The word “incidents” is misleading because it can mean assaults, stolen property or robberies. Some schools have as many as 3,000 to 4,000 students, and some have as few as 1,000 pupils. Some schools may report only violence, while others leave out crimes such as robberies from lockers, or incidents on the street near the school.

In both schools students may be achieving a great deal through fantastic programs. A school which reports everything is given a bad grade but may be no worse than another school.

If a school reports more incidents it can receive more safety officers, so some schools report everything. On the other hand, a school may just want a low number of incidents, even if it means less support services.

The New York Post did not explain the meaning of incidents but put in bold print on its front page, “Schools of Fear - HS Hell at Worst 10 for Crime” and listed the 10 schools with the most incidents. Which is the fairer reporting?

In a couple of days I will see how the other daily and weekly newspapers print the information that crime has dropped overall a total of 14 percent due to hard work by everyone concerned. This 14 percent drop in incidents should be celebrated, along with the achievements of the vast majority of our students.

Newsday did use the headline, “Less Crime in Toughest Schools.” These are not necessarily the “toughest schools,” but just schools with reported incidents. Think about it!

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