From Otis Jennings campaign Aug. 31 at Columbus Circle

{Q}"We have too much crime and not enough jobs in our City" said Otis Jennings{Q}, the endorsed Republican candidate for Mayor of Syracuse, at a press conference in Columbus Circle where he detailed plans to combat a rising tide of violence.

Jennings continued, "Both of these remain serious problems in our community, despite tireless efforts by numerous residents and civic groups to fix them. Crime of all types and high urban unemployment are cancers upon our neighborhoods.

"We need a Mayor who can interact and communicate with every Syracuse neighborhood and can be trusted to make every neighborhood significantly safer," he said Jennings. "My 30 years of experience working in every community in Syracuse, especially my work with young people, is an invaluable asset for building relationships between residents and law enforcement."

Stepping Up Enforcement

Well-known and comfortable in every Syracuse neighborhood, Jennings said, "I will take an active role developing the contacts law enforcement need to weed out the bad element. I believe we have one of the best Police Departments in the country but they must have citizens willing to come forward and work with them."

Syracuse will receive $3 million in Federal Stimulus funds to add 14 police officers.

Department officials have said those officers will go into patrol, community policing, narcotics, criminal investigations and crime reduction.

"Great," Jennings said, "But we must make sure the extra police officers stay in place after this two-year temporary stimulus funding ends. All too often, extra officers disappear into the ranks used to fill slots left open by retirements and other departures. That's a budgeting gimmick I won't use. Understaffing the police department weakens the department, reduces response time, and leads to a rise in crime.

"Additionally, we need new ways for the police to connect with young people. I will create a Police Athletic League (PAL) to foster friendships and respect. I grew up in New York City and the local Police Athletic League helped me understand police officers are more than just law enforcement. They became friends and mentors.

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