By Alex Israel
The NYPD recently rolled out Neighborhood Policing for the Upper West Side’s 20th Precinct. The initiative aims to improve communication and collaboration between local police officers and community residents by assigning the same pairs of officers to designated sectors within each precinct.
The 20th Precinct is the 66th precinct in the city to adopt the Neighborhood Policing program, of 77 in the NYPD’s jurisdiction. On the Upper West Side, it follows the 24th Precinct, which rolled out the program earlier this year. By October, every precinct in the city will be participating in the initiative.
Neighborhood Policing splits the 20th Precinct into three sectors: A, B and C, and designates two Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) to each. The Amsterdam Houses, operated by the New York City Housing Authority and located in Sector A, will also have its own pair of dedicated NCOs.
Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison introduced the program at a meeting last month to a crowded room filled with a mix of NYPD representatives and community members.
He was enthusiastic about Neighborhood Policing, and praised the program for its ability to “help cultivate intimacy, understanding, relationships and trust” in the communities that have already adopted it. According to Harrison, surveys across those communities show that the program is effective. He also reported that the number of chronic quality-of-life complaints has dropped.
After each officer participating in the program had introduced themselves and shared their excitement to get started, Harrison fielded questions from the audience, who expressed skepticism as they outlined complaints ranging from panhandlers to after-hours noise, all of which had gone unaddressed in the past. Harrison empathized, directed people to their designated officers and asked each skeptic the same question: Will you give the program a chance?
One by one, each resident agreed to do so.
With the presentation complete, Harrison encouraged residents to meet their NCOs to begin addressing their issues. He also noted that starting in October, each pair will host meetings every three months to engage with the community one-on-one. Residents are advised to check www.buildtheblock.nyc to find the meetings in their sector.
NYPD encourages locals to email their designated NCOs with questions and/or concerns:
The precinct posted more information about the officers on Facebook.