Mayor Lovely Warren and Chief Michael Ciminelli have announced the creation of a new Deputy Chief of Community Relations position in the Rochester Police Department.
The city created the position in an effort to seek more ways to connect with the community, according to officials.
Current Deputy Chief Wayne Harris, a 28-year veteran of the RPD, will transition to fill the new role.
“At a time when we see the relationships between police departments and communities across our country become strained, we must make every effort to maintain and advance the level of trust between our police officers, and the community,” Warren stated. “The creation of this position at the deputy chief level represents an incredible investment toward building that trust in Rochester.”
Deputy Chief Harris will report directly to Chief Ciminelli in the new role, to provide top-level coordination of the RPD’s approaches to improve its Community Oriented Policing initiatives, the city stated.
He will also coordinate the RPD’s neighborhood-based Five Section Patrol model, and Body Worn Camera Program with other outreach initiatives; evaluate their effectiveness, and recommend enhancements to the programs.
According to the city, Harris will work closely with patrol sections, neighborhood service centers, and all RPD personnel to ensure community concerns are communicated directly to the Office of the Chief, and addressed properly.
“The introduction of this position represents the natural progression of the department’s many successful community outreach initiatives,” Ciminelli stated. “Community safety and trust are our priorities, and we believe the addition of this position will further augment our work to build strong bonds between police, and residents, under the mayor’s vision.”
In addition, “I am looking forward to working directly with the Rochester community, to make our neighborhoods safer, and more vibrant,” Harris stated. “I want to thank Mayor Warren and Chief Ciminelli for giving me the opportunity to develop this important new position in the Rochester Police Department.”
Harris had been the Deputy Chief of Administration since 2014, and, prior to that, he’d served as Northwest Quadrant Captain.