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Police reorg splits Southeast 

It's not exactly buyer's remorse — after all, the police reorganization hasn't happened yet — but some neighborhood leaders are concerned that if the restructuring goes through as proposed, it could damage long-established working relationships. Many neighborhood groups have pushed for changes in policing to improve response times and police-community relations.

The concern is mainly coming from the Southeast neighborhoods that make up Sector 6, which includes Highland, South Wedge, Swillburg, Upper Mt. Hope, and other neighborhoods.

The Rochester Police Department is reorganizing from two full sections — one on each side of the city — and a smaller downtown substation to five sections spread around the city.

Initial plans for the police reorganization were presented in April. The proposed map splits up the Southeast neighborhoods that currently work and plan as the single Sector 6; responsibility for policing the sector would be split among three different police districts.

"There's a little bit of concern," says Mike Mahoney, chair of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association. "Over the last 20, 30 years, those neighborhoods have all kind of worked really closely together, have really good relationships with each other. When issues come up, we kind of work together to address them."

The map makes the South Wedge part of the downtown police district, for example, and puts the Upper Mt. Hope neighborhood in a separate police district with the 19th Ward, the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood, Bull's Head, and the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood.

There is confusion and concern, too, over whether the coverage area of the city's Southeast Neighborhood Service Center would stay as it is or change to conform to the new police districts. Communication could be hindered if the lines don't match, neighborhood leaders say.

Nancy Johns-Price, administrator of the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, declined comment on the police reorganization except to say that everyone has to get on board. The NSC administrators will make the new system work, she says, whatever it is.

"That's what we'll do, because that's what we do," she says.

Mahoney says that, overall, residents are excited and happy about the police reorganization. And he says he's been told that the new maps are not set in stone.

"They've been very open and listened to us," he says. "So we're optimistic that something will get worked out."

Lieutenant Mark Simmons, who is on the reorganization team, says he's aware of the concerns about coordination of services between the RPD and the Neighborhood Service Centers, and that there are options on the table to address those fears. He declined to discuss those options, however, except to say that the team will try to minimize disruptions caused by the reorganization.

"There's a little bit of concern. Over the last 20, 30 years, those neighborhoods have all kind of worked really closely together, have really good relationships with each other. When issues come up, we kind of work together to address them." Mike Mahoney.

Speaking of Policing, Neighborhoods

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