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City Council Makes Public Safety and Children a Priority

Staff Report

Photo by Wadi Lissa on Unsplash

City council committee structure has recently been revamped.

During the revamping, Rochester City Council President Miguel A. Meléndez, Jr. (D – At-Large District) restructuring has given a renewed focus and emphasis on Public Safety as well as Rochester’s Youth. 

Melendez said the issue of violence remains the single largest challenge facing this city and he wanted to be certain that public safety receives the fullest attention of city council.

“I am proud that every single member of City Council has signed on to take part in this work and that our all-hands-on-deck approach leaves no doubt in the community that we are serious about making every one of our neighborhoods safe for all citizens,” Melendez said.

Meléndez created two new Committees within Council in March 2022 – the Public Safety Committee and the Recreation & Human Services Committee. Previously these two new committees were combined.

The Public Safety Committee’s role and structure will be chaired by Meléndez and its membership will include all nine City Council members. Meléndez intends the Committee to also work with partners at all levels of government to seek and affect the change needed to reduce violence and reimagine public safety.

“In the coming weeks and months we will be working in partnership with Mayor Evans to get a new Police Chief in place; to pass the Mayor’s comprehensive violence strategy initiatives; to help develop better ways to address mental health treatment; improve crisis intervention; and to look at the significant issues of reform, accountability and equity within policing,” said Meléndez. 

Melendez said its important that Council is prepared to delve into all of the issues, “…not just by asking questions of Mayor Evans’ Administration, but also by engaging our neighbors across Rochester to be a part of this work.”

While the Recreation & Human Services Committee will continue to deal with the myriad of social issues before it, a significant amount of their work will be focused on our city’s youth – dealing largely with City Rec-Centers, youth programming in Rec-Centers and also new initiatives to develop positive programming aimed at youth violence prevention. 

Councilmember LaShay Harris (D-South District), a city council veteran, has been named the Recreation & Human Services Committee Chair.

“Human services programming is a critical component in a healthy city and it can play a major role in youth violence prevention in particular,” Harris said. 

“As Dr. Freddie L. Thomas said: ‘If there’s a place with activity, educational learning has to be going on, therefore; I want all of our city’s children to have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential in learning.”