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Home Police & Fire PUBLISHER: On Police Blotter It’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

PUBLISHER: On Police Blotter It’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

(PHOTO: The Rye Police Department headquarters at 21 McCullough Place.)
(PHOTO: The Rye Police Department headquarters at 21 McCullough Place.)

A letter from MyRye.com Publisher Jay Sears

Each week MyRye.com publishes a police blotter for our readers. A new information system installed and policy adopted at Rye PD has now modified the information being provided to media by the department–we think it is one step forward and two steps back.

Good News

The good news is there is now more quantitative data–it should be easier over time to see the number and type of incidents the police respond to each week. We give you a view into what this will look like below.

Bad News

The bad news is the qualitative data–the incident details–have been removed entirely from the new police department reports. We believe this is a disservice to both residents and the police department. For residents (and our readers) this detail is informative, sometimes sad, sometimes funny and for this writer–always eye-opening.

The fact is police are called to the deal with serious, sad, dangerous, unusual and unexpected situations every single day–including proactively checking school, church, synagogue and private properties; mediating disputes between neighbors; medical and other situations such as falls with our seniors; mental health crises; thefts and motor vehicle accidents. 

Being able to write about some of these details educates residents on the myriad of police department responsibilities and by doing this builds both empathy and understanding between our officers and residents. 

George Floyd and Transparency

In the wake of George Floyd and other horrific incidents, well run and progressive police departments have worked hard to advance transparency while protecting public safety. 

We believe our department, under the direction of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Kopy, is well run and progressive. The department has made it a policy of announcing serious arrests such as DWIs. We find the department accessible and welcoming. But the loss of incident details is a step backwards.

Until Recently

Until recently, MyRye.com was provided with a weekly incident report by the police department that was an unwieldy PDF document typically 50-70 pages long. We would sort through hundreds of short reports that included the date, time, incident type and a brief description. 

We would pick a dozen or so incidents each week, add a sometimes amusing “sub-head” or title, and turn this into the list you are used to reading most Saturdays, like these past items:

Shhh! November 26. Grace Church Street. City Code Violation – Leaf Blowers. REPORT OF MULTIPLE LEAF BLOWERS IN USE.

Lock Your Vehicles. November 27. Martin Butler Court. File 1. Caller reported that their 2013 Audi is missing.

Coated in Egg Wash. November 27. Apawamis Avenue / Midland Avenue. Assist Citizen. COMPLAINANT STATES SOMEONE IN A GRAY VW ATLAS THREW EGGS AT HIM CAUSING IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO HIS COAT. CAR 10 ASSIGNED.

Idle Minds. November 29. Pondview Road. City Code Violation – Other. CALLER STATES THAT THERE IS A VEHICLE IDLING OUTSIDE HER HOME. Spoke with the R.O. and advised her of the city code. 10-98

The New Reporting

In the last few weeks, the department has started to provide new weekly incident reporting. It now looks like this:

12/21/2022

9:43:50 PM

Property Check 11 – Cancel, Joseph * MARRIOTT COURTYARD unavailable Closed No Report

– 1

12/21/2022

9:01:22 PM

Aided Case 15 – Dabrowski, Daniel * 15 Bulkley Mnr,

Rye, NY 10580

unavailable Closed With Report – 1
12/21/2022

8:34:10 PM

Rules of the Road 16 – Draper, William * 873 Boston Post Rd, Rye, NY 10580 Rye Nature Center Warned and Released – 1
12/21/2022

8:22:11 PM

Property Check 15 – Dabrowski, Daniel * 1 Van Rensselaer Rd, Rye, NY 10580 unavailable Closed No Report

– 1

 

What are the details that happened at the Marriott? We don’t know. 

Why did someone get pulled over by the Rye Nature Center? No idea.

Who was assisted at Bulkley Manor and for what? That is unknown.

The Good Part.

Not all change is bad, and there is a good part to the new system and policy. We should be able to provide more quantitative information, such as:

Here is a chart that shows–of 338 incidents in a recent week–that over half are property checks:

(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter - here is a chart that shows–of 338 incidents in a recent week–that over half are property checks.)
(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter – here is a chart that shows–of 338 incidents in a recent week–that over half are property checks.)

This report shows which officers were most active across the 338 incidents:

(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter - this report shows which officers were most active across the 338 incidents.)
(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter – this report shows which officers were most active across the 338 incidents.)

And this report shows the disposition of the 338 incidents. For instance, you can see three quarters of incidents were closed with no further reporting needed by the officer.

(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter - this report shows the disposition of the 338 incidents. For instance, you can see three quarters of incidents were closed with no further reporting needed by the officer.)
(PHOTO: The evolving police blotter – this report shows the disposition of the 338 incidents. For instance, you can see three quarters of incidents were closed with no further reporting needed by the officer.)

Public Safety Commissioner Mike Kopy and the department is considering our appeal to add back incident report details. It would be a positive for transparency, for residents and for our police officers.

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