Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Mount Vernon is on track to surpass the murder rate of 2008.  While our so-called leaders have been ineffective at containing this senseless violence, many have used this violence as an opportunity for a photo-op and to propel their campaigns forward at the expense of taxpayers. 

The embattled Mount Vernon Police Department has its own internal management issues that it must deal with. This management in the MVPD is substandard and until it is changed Mount Vernon can expect this same level of service and production from the MVPD.  Very few top brass, if any reside in the City of Mount.  It is had been rumored that Commissioner David Chong is resigning at the end of the year and is heading to White Plains to be top cop there.  Operation Protect Phase II currently under way is not protecting Mount Vernon residents. It is evident that there is a lack of leadership in the Mount Vernon Police Department and this shortcoming is adversely affecting the entire Mount Vernon community.  Quality of Life in Mount Vernon is deteriorating at record speeds.  The Mount Vernon Police Department must be proactive instead of reactive to the concerns of the Mount Vernon community.  True Community Policing is absent from Mount Vernon Police Department policy.  True Community Policing is taking input from the community and going back and implementing the data that was gathered into Standard Operating Procedures. 

Earlier this year, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano announced that he was going to spend $3M of taxpayer money to purchase a system called shot spotter.  Spano called this “a sense of urgency and a sense of emergency.”  Shortly thereafter, this was approved by the Board of Legislators.  This system would cost Mount Vernon taxpayers $300,000 annually to maintain. County Legislator Lyndon Williams was excited about this system and even used this in his campaign literature, but he did not provide any studies or research to the public that warranted the spending of this excessive amount of tax dollars. Legislator Williams appears to do things backwards.  He votes on legislation and then goes out into the community and holds public forums that are scarcely attended.  Is this to avoid public scrutiny? Williams also stated that he advocated for public safety, $1.5M for a high-tech gunshot detection and camera system to deter gun violence.  County Legislator Lyndon Williams did not take into account that perpetrators would stop using guns and would begin using knives as the weapon of choice.  It is just a matter of time before Mayor Young and Company convince Mount Vernon taxpayers that they have a bridge for sale in Idaho or that we should now invest in a Knife spotter System.

The $300,000 that is going to be wasted annually on this system could have been put to better use.  This money could have been used to hire 8 additional officers per year, fixing the cameras that are not working in all but 1 patrol car, purchase new bullet proof vests that are outdated, or purchase worthwhile equipment that will make our officers more effective and more efficient to fight crime in our communities.  Hard earned tax dollars are not to be squandered away.


Oct. 27, 2009
Westchester County Executive Andy Spano and Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young announced Tuesday that the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system is up and running in the city of Mount Vernon and has already helped to solve a crime.

The system’s ability to pinpoint the precise location of gunshots helped Mount Vernon and New York City police  retrieve valuable ballistics evidence blocks away from where the shooter was apprehended.       

“Mount Vernon is a safer city already because of the installation of this sophisticated technology,” said County Executive Andy Spano who, along with other officials, got a demonstration of Mount Vernon’s new system. “It is a tremendous tool that helps us keep our residents and communities safe.’’

Mayor Clinton Young said, “Here in Mount Vernon we are on an aggressive mission to rid our streets of illegal handguns. With the help of ShotSpotter, all those who seek to terrorize our streets with the use of these weapons will be arrested and brought to justice.  I thank the County Executive who has been a true partner in this fight.”

The ShotSpotter system uses a sophisticated network of sensors to detect gunshots and identify their location within seconds after gunfire sounds. This enables police officers to respond to the scene immediately, even before receiving a 911 call.
With the support of the Westchester Board of Legislators, the county allocated $3 million in capital funds to install the proven crime detection and prevention system in Mount Vernon and Yonkers. The two cities will assume the costs of maintaining and updating the systems.         
County Legislator Lyndon Williams of Mount Vernon said, “…I believe ShotSpotter will have a tangible impact on reducing gun violence in Mount Vernon.  Its implementation will not only serve as a deterrent, but will provide our police department with crucial information, enabling them to solve gun-crimes more quickly and restore peace of mind to our residents.”

Board chair Bill Ryan of White Plains said, “This technology is an effective tool for local police. It will send a strong message to individuals who use illegal guns – fire a gun in Mount Vernon or Yonkers, and law enforcement will find you!”

County Legislator Vito Pinto of Tuckahoe, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said, “As chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I am happy to see the coordination and partnership between county and local governments in efforts to protect the public. This is another example of Westchester County government helping communities throughout this county serve their residents better.’’
Gunshot detection technology, which is used in cities and counties around the nation, has been credited with helping police to apprehend shooters before they can flee;locate witnesses who were present when a crime was committed; allocate resources more effectively in response to data about where gunfire is occurring and find gunshot victims quickly and get them medical attention, including in cases where no one has called 911.
ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensing technology to identify and report gunshots to police within seconds. The sensors, which can differentiate gunfire from other loud sounds such as fireworks or construction noise, use wireless transmitters to send the information to a police dispatch center. The sensors can determine how many shots were fired, how many shooters were involved and whether the shooters were stationary or moving (as in a drive-by shooting).

The sensors also trigger a program that calculates the direction that the sound came from – a process known as triangulation. This is done by comparing the slightly different times at which the sound hits different sensors in the area. Triangulation permits the detection system to pinpoint a very precise location – usually within 25 feet – of where a gunshot was fired. The location is transmitted to a police computer that displays a map and the closest address to the gunfire.

Earlier this month, two NYPD officers from the 47th Precinct heard gunfire while on patrol near the Mount Vernon-Bronx border. The officers drove toward the shots and observed a man running down the street near Mundy Lane in Mount Vernon. They pursued the man into Mount Vernon and, with the help of Mount Vernon Police, took the suspect into custody and recovered a handgun. Using ShotSpotter, Mount Vernon police were able to locate the specific address on Mundy Lane where the shots had been fired and police later recovered a number of shell casings in the back yard.

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