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New RPD chief outlines plans

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Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli said last week that the plan to take the RPD from an east-west model to a quadrant-based model should be ready by May. And then it will take a year or more to complete the transition, he said.

Ciminelli briefly outlined his vision for the police department at a meeting of City Council's Public Safety Committee last week. The committee vetted Ciminelli before the full Council vote on Ciminelli's installment as chief, which was expected to happen on Tuesday.

Ciminelli succeeds James Sheppard, who retired at the end of last year.

At the committee meeting, Ciminelli also talked about his plans to fight the city's open-air drug markets, to improve police-community relations, and to give police recruits a sense of the city's history

It will take more than enforcement to eradicate the drug markets, he said. The RPD will target a handful of the most troublesome street corners for an intense, extended effort, he said. That will include staying in the neighborhoods after the corners have been cleared, he said, to try to get to the roots of the problem.

It will probably also involve working with city's department of Neighborhood and Business Development, he said, to understand the conditions in the neighborhoods that give rise to drug sales.

Ciminelli also said that members of the local clergy have been working with RPD recruits to help the recruits understand how the history of race relations and the civil rights movement impact community perceptions of police.

City Council member Carolee Conklin advised Ciminelli to keep an eye on police overtime following the reorganization. Exorbitant overtime costs were a major reason for the switch to the two-section model almost 10 years ago — though it's difficult to say if the change worked, because the department has also grown over that time.

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