Community action groups weigh in on new RPD Chief

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Community action groups say they’re looking forward to seeing the work that Rochester Police Chief David Smith will bring to the table. Smith was appointed with the new role Thursday.

"There is a demonic spirit all over the city of Rochester, and that’s why we pray,” event organizer Sirena Cotton said.

Community action groups, are working harder than ever to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Groups like, Rise Up Rochester, S.N.U.G, (Should Never Use Guns), Roc The Peace and more say, it welcomes Smith, but is curious about what’s at the top of his agenda.

"Expectations would be, really building relationships in the community to help get Rochester back to where it was,” Isabell Rosa said, with Rise Up Rochester.

Rosa has had boots to the ground in community action for decades. Thursday, groups were out door knocking, checking in on neighborhoods. She says her city needs help and healing.

“I’ve been doing this work for about 25 years and I have never seen our city in this condition and so I’m really looking forward to harmony happiness and wellness.”

Earlier Thursday morning, Smith said, with a new title comes decision making.

“Typically an interim will steer the ship and keep it going down the stream, I am very proud of the fact that under my stewardship we had a few initiatives we had the wellness unit, we stepped up our recruitment on a number of levels,” he said.

Getting a handle on the city’s violent path is top of the list.

"There are things to be done on training, more internal things to be done, and obviously we need to continue to work on violence which is our number one problem in the city,”

Roc The Peace has a community event coming up on July 23 called "Peace Fest" at Jones Square Park, for victims of gun violence to gather and anyone else who wants to join.