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City releases customer survey looking at public safety

Updated: 02/14/2014 12:04 AM
Created: 02/13/2014 11:49 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Here at News10NBC, we want to know what issues are most important to you.

When we've asked our viewers that question, one of the things we hear the most is personal safety.

Thursday, we learned more about a survey asking people who live in the city, what they think about public safety and The Rochester Police Department.

One of the questions asked how they would rate the Rochester Police Department's response time after they call for help.

42-percent overall said "excellent or good", with just over 28-percent saying "fair". Just over 25-percent said poor, or very poor.

Overall, most people had a favorable impression of the department, but when you look closely at the numbers, 55-percent of those surveyed told RPD, they trust them, 45-percent said they do not trust Rochester police officers. 

What the survey also found: Caucasians are more likely to trust the RPD, and people of color, less likely.

Mark Harold, a Rochester resident said, “I live in the Park Avenue neighborhood and we see a whole different side.”

When News10NBC’s Lynette Adams asked Harold what he thought of the survey findings, he said it depends on which experience he draws from. He says he has had only positive experiences in his Park Avenue neighborhood. But in the 30 years he spent working in inner city neighborhoods, he saw something different.

“I worked in a number of rec centers in the city and I saw sometimes how the kids were treated differently or the adults were treated differently, and in my neighborhood, i live in Park Avenue neighborhood and we see a whole different side,” said Harold.

The survey found older Caucasians are more likely to think favorably of Rochester police, younger, non-whites were more likely to have an unfavorable impression of the police. But David Hutchinson like Harold, has mixed feelings.

“I’ve had to have Rochester police come to my house, and they've always been very courteous. The dealings that I’ve had are very positive. However when I do see things like the police on the street it kind of leaves an unfavorable impression,” said Hutchinson.

He is referring to what he says are the many times he's seen police officers get to a red light, turn on their flashing lights, go through the intersection then turn off their lights. The issue of trust is key for any police department, and Interim Chief Michael Ciminelli says, his department is concerned about the survey's findings.

“Raising that level of trust is something to work on, and more than that we need to improve the balance of perception, lessen the disparity, so that all of our residents have the same good impressions,” said Chief Ciminelli.

Sandra Gibson says the answer is very simple. She says officers have to let go of their prejudices.

“You want respect you have to give respect. People respect authority, but at the same time, If you as the authoritative person don't give people respect as humans how can you expect to get respect,” said Gibson. 

Citizens were also asked to rate the performance of the RPD. The majority rated its work to reduce and prevent crime as good to excellent, 1/3 rated it fair and 20-Percent rated the department’s efforts to reduce and prevent crime, as poor.



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