Syracuse Police Department

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Following a die-in and demonstration on the Syracuse University campus, more than 200 protesters shut down the street in front the justice center in Syracuse last night as they marched down the hill into downtown Syracuse.
   

hermanturnip / Flickr

The Syracuse Police Department will implement new rules regarding the use of Tasers next year. The changes come as the result of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union charging Taser abuse in city schools.

The lawsuit involved the use of Tasers against two students, including one who was trying to break up a fight between other students, and another involving a diabetic student who was upset over academic issues and lying on the floor. In both cases no charges were filed, even as both students were handcuffed and taken from school.

DJ Leln / via Flickr

Some of the hand-me-down gear the Syracuse police force has received from the Pentagon is harmless - and in fact pretty useful: First aid kits, 40 pairs of long johns, 50 pairs of winter boots, even electrical tape and bungee cords.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse activists want events in Ferguson, Missouri to lead to more dialogue and understanding between the community and law enforcement.

They renewed those calls Tuesday afternoon with a few chants of "No justice, no peace" downtown.

It was a much more restrained affair in Syracuse than the destructive protests outside St. Louis, Missouri Monday and Tuesday.

Ken Hawkins / Flickr

Syracuse city councilors are hoping to convince state-level lawmakers to change a law that allows police, firefighters and sanitation workers to live outside the cities they work in.

A non-binding resolution issued by the council comes after they learned only about three dozen of the city’s roughly 450 police officers actually live in the city. Firefighters and sanitation workers are also exempt, though a higher percentage of those employees live in the city.

That results in tens of millions of dollars in city salaries leaving the city, the council estimates.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Members of the Syracuse faith community and the city’s police department want to be “proactive” in improving the relationship between the community and police department.

African-African faith leaders will hold a series of monthly community meetings at different churches in the city beginning next month with the goal of facilitating a dialog between the police department and community members.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A new state program is providing bulletproof vests for police departments across the state. One Syracuse Police detective is living proof of how important these vests are to an officer on the street.

It was April 13, 2009, when Syracuse Police Detective Richard Curran and his partner found themselves in a shootout on Syracuse’s south side with a wanted parolee who was carrying an illegal .357 handgun. Curran was wearing an up-to-date bulletproof vest, and was shot at close range.

A large class of new recruits has begun training to become Syracuse police officers, but if you ask Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler, it's still not enough cops.

"Keep bringing them," he said. "I tell you, I can find work for every police officer that you send my way. But this is a great start and I’m glad to have it."

Fowler was speaking after the swearing in of a new class of officers. Syracuse is buffeting its police ranks more than normal. It swore in 35 officers to begin six months of training on Thursday.

Ken Hawkins / Flickr

Syracuse police officers have reached a new labor contract with the city, more than three years after the old one expired.

It's not uncommon for police union contracts to lapse, but this one stretched on for a while, mostly over health care costs and coverage.

The new contract is for five years, but it applies retroactively to when the old one expired at the end of 2010. The 428 Syracuse police officers will have to pay about twice as much for health insurance, but will get two percent raises for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Mike Fleming / via Flickr

The Syracuse Police Department says its network of security cameras in the city are helping fight crime. And some neighborhood advocates are asking for more.

Nearly 40 cameras have been installed in parts of the city since 2011. They’re on the Near Westside, in the Pioneer Homes complex and along Butternut Street on the north side.

Twenty more cameras will be online by the end of the summer, mostly downtown and along East Fayette Street.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Pleas for funding for a literacy program, and concerns about public safety spending rounded out comments at last night’s public hearing on the city of Syracuse’s proposed 2014-2015 budget.

In all, six people spoke to common councilors about Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed $660 million spending plan last night. Among them was Felicia Salley, a mother of three from Syracuse’s southside. She says the Imagination Library, run by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, has helped her kids prepare for school by providing each of her children one new age-appropriate book a month.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

If Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget is approved as is by the Common Council, the city will soon beef up its police and fire departments.

Miner says even as the city budget continues to be tight, it’s time for the new officers, with more than 200 potential police and fire retirements looming this year.

"You always are trying to manage, and manage and looking at how many retirements you're going to have and how many you’ve already had, where your needs are and how you can balance those needs,” Miner said.

Syracuse homicide rate at recent high in 2013

Feb 11, 2014
Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

The homicide rate in Syracuse was at a recent high in 2013. The city had 22 homicides in 2013, a 60 percent increase from the 13 homicides in 2012.

Sargent Tom Connellan, the public information officer for the Syracuse Police Department, said it is very difficult to predict a homicide.

"We can target gun violence, we can target a lot of other crimes, but sometimes these are just crimes of opportunity or crimes of passion. Some involved domestic related incidents. I don't want to trivialize any of these homicides because one is one too many," he said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It will be easier for Syracuse Police to deal with animal emergencies from now on, after a central New York animal cruelty group donated 25 first response kits the the police department.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says cops are often the first to come across an injured animal.

"We are the first to respond to a number of calls for police services, and we take all of them very serious," Fowler said. "And ranking up there with injury and harm to human beings, we take injury and harm to our animals very serious.”

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse police have cracked an almost 30-year-old murder case using a combination of high tech DNA and intensive police work. The arrest of a Georgia man who had long been a suspect in the investigation of the death of his estranged wife, is the latest success in the Syracuse Police Department’s cold case unit.

Authorities say Ronald Meadow will be arraigned on second-degree murder charges in Syracuse later this month, in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Colleen Meadow, who was found strangled to death in her northside apartment in March 1985.  

Syracuse Police have started a new policy that could help crack domestic violence cases, called the CODE, or Chronic Offender Domestic Enforcement, program.

Rebecca Thompson has answered countless domestic violence calls in her 27 years as a member of the Syracuse Police Department. Now as deputy chief of the uniformed bureau, she said she knows how it is a very personal crime, and sometimes, victims don't want to testify against a loved one, which can make it harder for prosecutors to make a case.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

For the last few years, graffiti artists have been going to an empty building on Syracuse's Near West Side, where they can paint without fear of legal hassle. But while dozens of artists have used this building as their outlet, has it helped decrease the amount of illegal graffiti citywide?

The smells and sounds of spray paint fill the air surrounding the vacant structure at then end of Tully Street, as two men paint thin blue lines while another paints a large, pink alien holding a laser gun.

An outlet to paint

The state Inspector General's office has issued a report that largely clears the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry of any wrongdoing surrounding the use of a forensics lab at the college.

The Onondaga County District Attorney's office rose concerns in April about Syracuse Police forensic evidence used in several shooting cases. That prompted the state forensics commission to ask the Inspector General to conduct the investigation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It's been about a year since a revitalized Citizen's Review Board started investigating complaints about Syracuse Police officers, but their first annual report, which covers the last half of 2012, shows progress.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

It's graduation season in Central New York.  But it's not just high schools and universities turning out graduates. It's also commencement time for some four-legged students.

Nine dogs, mostly German Shepherds, are now ready to hit the streets to help police catch criminals. The teams come from as far as from Niagara County in the west to Columbia County in the east, to take part in the police dog training program run by the Syracuse Police Department.

The dogs and handlers graduated during a ceremony at Syracuse's Inner Harbor last week.