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Police Summit heads to South Jamaica

There will be a police summit at New Jerusalem Worship Center in South Jamaica on Jan. 31.
By Naeisha Rose

The last leg of the five-borough “Still We Rise NYC Human Justice Summit” will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the New Jerusalem Worship Center, 122-05 Smith St. on the corner of Baisley Boulevard in South Jamaica.

The police summit will feature clergy, local members of the community and the top brass of the New York Police Department, including Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

The boroughwide police tour was the brainchild of the Rev. Que English, the founder of the New York City Clergy Roundtable, a nonprofit in which grass-roots religious leaders work with civic leaders and local agencies to tackle social problems.

Her hope for the summit was to improve relations between the African-American community and police officers.

“The whole purpose of this is to build bridges and not burning them,” English said. “A lot of times, we on both sides judge without listening and without hearing.”

English believes it is necessary for the black community and police officers to have a better communal relationship.

“At the end of the day, we will always coexist,” English said. “It was important to have this dialogue in the city in order to assure that public safety was viewed as a shared responsibility.”

The Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice, a senior pastor at New Jerusalem who grew up in Staten Island and attended that borough’s police summit last month, said he found that one “very informative” and was looking forward to learning how officers plan on addressing issues specific to Queens.

“This is something that will benefit the community,” Rice said, “I want them to be aware of it.”

At the Staten Island summit, Rice said, he was impressed by the police officers’ programs to reach youths and their new approach to policing.

“They have taken kids out to the police range to let them see what police do,” Rice said. “They have a police cadets program, and they are making a real effort to recruit more African-American policemen to serve in their own communities.”

Rice was also pleased with Commissioner O’Neill’s use of precision policing and the Neighborhood Coordination Officer initiative.

“The commissioner seems to have a hands-on kind of approach,” Rice said. “I want to hear what they have geared towards this area and the borough. It seems like this commissioner has given them the leeway to design their own policing based on what issue is plaguing each neighborhood.”

Rice added, “Everyone needs shoes, but they all come in different sizes.”

The doors open at 9 a.m., and people are encouraged to arrive by 9:45.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by email at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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