Utica councilman calls for public safety review

Aug 18, 2014

At least one member of Utica's Common Council is calling for the city's public safety commissioner to perform a top-down review of the city's safety policies, saying a rise in gun crime and the heroic actions of two residents are a call for change.

Councilman Joe Marino presented his request during a meeting last week and is calling on Mayor Robert Palmieri, who also serves as the city's public safety commissioner, to provide the council with a full review.

Marino says the city owes its police, fire and codes department employees the opportunity to have everything they need to do their job effectively.

"I want to know legislatively what I can do to protect our men and women on the front line. We have not only police officers, we have firefighters and codes inspectors that are out on the streets and they are putting their lives on the line for us," Marino said.

Marino says the city recently commended two citizens who assisted a police officer during an incident in July. In the days following, the councilman says there was a stabbing, a double shooting and another shooting that resulted in stray bullets hitting a home.

"As a person looking to relocate their family, they look at tow things; the school district and the cleanliness and safety," Marino explained. "So those are the things that we can't allow the ball to be dropped any longer, and it's gone on for too long. Where now these guys are actually in genuine danger and if we don't do something about it, something could go terribly wrong and we could end up at a funeral somewhere."

By having a full review performed, Marino says the city can begin to fill a gap in police, fire and codes department safety policies.

Marino says the city's police department has offered its support and will provide the council with information, including response times, the number of officers per car in high-crime areas and equipment or manpower issues.

The councilman says he'd like to see a report from Mayor Robert Palmieri's office by September.