Councilmember brings cops and community together

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Chief Pape (foreground) with Councilwoman Patterson-Thompson early in the well-attended meeting.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Seventh Ward Poughkeepsie Councilwoman Nedra Patterson-Thompson brought the police and community together on Thursday in an attempt to reduce the violence in the city.  The freshman lawmaker filled a community room at the Boulevard Knolls apartment complex for a roundtable discussion to address crime.

Patterson-Thompson was assisted by Dutchess County Legislator Randy Johnson in gathering neighbors together to interact with City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pape, Captain Rich Wilson, and members of the Community Policing Division.

“We appreciate the efforts of Councilmember Patterson-Thompson,” said Chief Pape.  “The City of Poughkeepsie Police are always looking for opportunities to interact with the residents and this was a productive conversation.”

Pape noted that his department is contractually obligated to have 92 members.  Recent retirements and transfers have dropped that number to 79 uniformed officers, resulting in additional overtime costs.  The manpower shortage has been a problem for the past 18 months, according to the chief who has nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience.

“We need the community to help us to help them,” said Poughkeepsie Police Captain Rich Wilson.  “We can’t be everywhere all of the time.”

Patterson-Thompson took office for the first time in January of this year and has been credited by her neighbors for “jumping right in.”  A woman attending the meeting told Mid-Hudson News “Nedra is bringing the residents and the police together so we can all address the bad behavior together.”

Councilwoman Patterson-Thompson termed the meeting that brought several neighbors together a success.  “Precaution is the road to the cure,” she said.  “If the community and the police are working together, we can push back against the criminals.”  When asked what her plan was to reduce criminal behavior was, the new councilwoman said, “We start here by having conversations and building trust between the residents and our police department.”