Members of the City of Newburgh Police Department have been working hard to get involved with the community and to build trust from the residents. Their efforts have been quite successful.
Over the last few years, police departments around the nation have been facing scrutiny over various issues. The mainstream media has been notorious for hyping the negative encounters while omitting many of the positive stories related to policing. Several incidents have occurred, such as the unjust killing of George Floyd, in which the mainstream media continued to instigate and rile up many citizens. People began rioting, burning down their local stores, lighting their neighbors’ cars on fire, and looting from fellow community members. The mainstream media suddenly realized what they provoked, back-peddled, and referred to these violent riots as “peaceful protests.”
We concede that an isolated amount of bad officers were at fault in a series of incidents around the country. When these incidents are all the public ever hears about, citizens begin to unfairly paint all of the police with the same broad brush. Some public activists have claimed the police are at war against the citizens.
The public seldom knows when police go above and beyond to help someone, such as the Town of Newburgh police officer who recently borrowed a citizen’s jet ski to save the life of a person from drowning in the Hudson River.
The City of Newburgh Police Department has been taking many proactive steps to build their image in the community.
On June 29, the department held a pop-up barbecue at South and Liberty Streets. Officers stood outside barbecuing food for anyone who wanted a bite to eat. The officers carried out the task with enthusiasm and smiles on their faces. Adults and children lined up to sample the cooking skills of the uniformed chefs. The neighbors seemed to be enjoying themselves and had positive interactions with police. Some even posed for pictures together.
The next night, officers went back to the barbecue grills again when hundreds of community members turned out for a summer movie night at Safe Harbors. Officers and citizens worked side-by-side to prepare food for people who came out to watch the movie. Once again, everyone appeared to enjoy themselves. The entire event was nothing but positive.
On June 18, the department participated in a “Touch a Truck” event at the Newburgh Armory. Youngsters were allowed to sit in the front seat of a police car while officers showed off their emergency devices. Officers and children were all smiles as they posed for photos together.
On June 16, officers and supervisors joined local chaplains and City Council members in a “Walk & Talk” with city residents. The police listened to citizens’ concerns, opinions, and thoughts about many topics, such as police-community relations and violent crimes. Along the way, children stopped to have their photographs taken with their friendly, neighborhood police officers.
Last month, officers joined community members in participating at a rodeo at the Newburgh Armory. Officers donned their cowboy hats while some children put on a patrol hat to pose for pictures.
The list of events like these goes on and on.
A recent citizen survey conducted about the City of Newburgh Police Department revealed that the residents are quite happy with the policing efforts. When asked if the police treat residents fairly, 237 out of 345 residents reported the police are doing a good job. A majority of the residents also determined it is uncommon for the City of Newburgh Police to use excessive force, offensive language, or stop citizens without legit reasons.
Kudos to all the officers and supervisors with the City of Newburgh Police Department for their efforts toward community relations. Policing cannot get any more positive and community-oriented than this. When citizens are standing side-by-side cooking with police officers, when children are lining up to have their photos taken with the police, and when a majority of public surveys commend the police, it means the rank and file are clearly doing something correctly. Thanks to the City of Newburgh Police Department and other agencies using similar methods, perhaps the pendulum is finally beginning to swing back in the other direction.
See the photos below: