2006-04-14 / Community

State Lawmakers Call For 400 Youth Officers

Responding to a plan recently announced by Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to add 800 police officers to the City's force, 26 state lawmakers called on these city officials to designate 400 of the new recruits as youth officers and assign them to precincts in at-risk communities citywide.

In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, the lawmakers pointed out that youth officer's intervention as law enforcement officials and mentors has helped stem the tide of youth violence and gang activity. "Youth officers have cultivated positive relationships with many young people in our districts," said the letter.

Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly propose that the expanded police force be in place by the summer of 2007. They are recommending this expansion in response to a demographic trend- an anticipated population increase of 200,000 over the next five years- and due to a continuing threat of terrorism.

In discussing the positive work of police officers on the beat of community streets, the lawmakers noted that youth officers exist in every police precinct and operate programs to reduce youth violence, prevent drug use, deter gang participation, promote child safety, and improve relations between police officers and young people. "In addition to the assignment of new youth officers, we respectfully request that you increase the funding for the important programs they run," the lawmakers said in their letter. "This action would support and extend their capacity to reach more young people in each precinct's catchment area."

Underscoring the need for more youth officers, the lawmakers said, "Increased youth officer representation will produce positive, long-lasting outcomes for our troubled youth and go far to protect the public, which is the basic mission of our law enforcement community."

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