by Allison Deutschman
For years, police officers in departments throughout Western New York have been struggling to build positive relationships with the public. By incorporating a ride-along program, many are hopeful, including Youngstown Mayor Raleigh Reynolds, that police can void the gap between what people think happens on a typical shift on patrol and what actually happens.
The Youngstown mayor is looking forward to receiving feedback on the ride-along program. He was the first to ride in a Youngstown patrol car with newly hired officer Sal Paonessa this week (pictured) and is supportive of the department's efforts.
The program offers people in the community the opportunity to gain insight as to what the average officer is doing on a shift. The Youngstown Police Department's goal in re-instating the ride-along program is to "reinforce the fact that the police aren't against everybody," Lt. Michael Schuey said. "We are trying to be proactive in the community."
A few years ago the program was cut due to lack of public knowledge and the proper departments not being contacted.
Starting June 1, by calling the YPD at 716-745-3623, residents and business interests in the area can take advantage of this new service open to anyone ages 18 and older.
Schuey is hopeful the opportunity to venture through town in a cop car and experience what technology the officers have access to firsthand, will help "gain future recruits for the police academy."