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Syracuse residents say they want next police chief to bring change to dept.

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media File Photo
A public meeting for the police chief search at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse.

Monday is the last chance for Syracuse residents to attend a public meeting where they can offer their input on what criteria they want for a new chief of police. Some at the meetings said they hope the next chief will bring change to the department.

A group of women sit around a table at the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse. There are surveys with questions asking what experiences and qualifications should a new police chief have in order to be successful. Anna Morris said she wants to know the person’s character.

“Does he have a love for human beings?" Morris asked. "That’s what I want to see in the next chief; love. Because this job is high risk, a lot of anxiety, and if you don’t have a love for the people that you said that you are serving and keeping safe, then you don’t need the job.”

Anne Williams and others said they do not want the next chief to be from Syracuse.

“I just don’t trust the police," Williams said. "I know that there’s good officers and unfortunately they have to suffer because of the situations that come up. I’m just hoping for change.”

Some said they are upset at recent comments made by the police union president Jeff Piedmonte, who said police should be removed from schools.

Misse Ross said that is part of the “us vs. them” mentality.

“I think that’s an attitude we need to do away with in Syracuse,” Ross said. "There's a reason we have this 'us vs. them' thing going on throughout our whole society and we're not fixing it. It's in our schools, they're beating our kids up and lying about it. Out here on the street, they're beating our kids up and lying about it. We have people who are getting beat up and going to the police for help. The police aren't helping them. We can't have that anymore. I'm at the point we fire them all."

The search for a new police chief will begin in June and a decision will be made by the mayor in November. Monday's meeting will take place at the CNY Philanthropy Center Ballroom at 5:30 p.m.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.