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Friday, March 18, 2016

NYPD hosts BCS at Annual Community Partners Appreciation

by Moises Reyes, Community Service Coordinator and Jennifer Petersen, Deputy Project Director

On Monday night, BCS was escorted by 44th precinct Detective Carmen Tejada to the NYPD Community Partner Appreciation Day.  The event focused on thanking organizations like BCS for building and improving the relationship between police officers and the community through the NYPD's Community Partner Program.  The program assigns new Police Academy graduates to work with a group of local community partners who orient the officers to their assigned neighborhood--local leaders and the policing issues of greatest concern to residents and businesses.  Officers must introduce and get to know constituents of all ages and backgrounds in their patrol area, building trust and a sense of safety among residents.  

Since 2005, Bronx Community Solutions has maintained a positive relationship with the 44th precinct through the precinct's Community Affairs department, led by then-Officer (now Detective) Carmen Tejada.  Joint projects have included BCS clients assisting the precinct in graffiti cleanup, trash removal and event setup.  

Captain Brienza, 44 Precinct; Dr. Cary Goodman, 161st St. Business Improvement District;  Marie Forbes, NYC Housing Authority, Detective Carmen Tejada, 44 Precinct, Elyse Allbee, Daughters of Jacob Nursing Home; Jennifer Petersen, Bronx Community Solutions; Moises Reyes, Bronx Community Solutions; Cory Shaw, West Bronx Recreational Center; Officer Santos Collazo and Officer Brian Ortiz, 44 Precinct

Along with remarks from Commissioner William Bratton, we heard from an NYPD recruiter about their efforts to make the city's police force more culturally and ethnically diverse. The event closed with the night's community partner honoree, Music With a Message. This talented group of young people is spreading positive messages through song and has even recruited musically-inclined local NYPD officers to join their band.  Though many issues still need to be addressed, it was encouraging to see the results of NYPD's recent efforts to outreach and address the concerns of their community. 

Bronx-Based "Music With A Message" performs at the NYPD Community Partner Appreciation

Monday, March 14, 2016

Supervised Release: Bail Alternative Program Proves Early Success for Clients and Community

BCS's Supervised Release team: John Megaw, Latoya White, Elizabeth Swan-Taylor, Tracee Paige, Rosa Aguirre, Anibal Cortes and Mabel Jerez (not pictured: Shaina Adjei and Doreen Gonzalez)
Mayor De Blasio's citywide focus on bail alternative programming has allowed Bronx Community Solutions to expand its court presence through a new initiative called Supervised Release.  Designed to reduce dependence on unnecessary jail time and monetary bail, Supervised Release allows lower-risk defendants to remain in their communities, jobs and families while awaiting trial.  In addition to their court-required check-ins, all defendants in the program receive a thorough needs-assessment from BCS social workers and are referred to needed services such as vocational programs, housing or substance abuse treatment.

Early Success
David* was mandated to BCS's supervised release program through a charge for criminal possession of a controlled substance.  During his initial intake, the 28-year old male revealed that he was unemployed and was expecting his first child.  With a baby on the way and no employment prospects, David wanted to focus on creating a resume and finding a job.  BCS Director of Special Initiatives, John Megaw, referred him to Employment Works, a longtime BCS partner who assists individuals with criminal histories in finding employment.  Though David was mandated under "level 1" supervision requiring once per month contact, he chose to meet with John weekly to receive additional support and work toward his goals.  David was also without medical insurance and was able to meet with a Blue Cross Blue Shield representative at BCS's office to enroll in Medicaid.  Within a month of his initial intake with Supervised Release, David proudly reported that he had created his first resume and started full time work at a retail store in his neighborhood with the help of Employment Works.

David is just one of the 90 clients already assigned to Supervised Release and an early indication that bail alternatives can be a win for both individuals and the public. 

*name has been changed

To learn more about the citywide rollout of Supervised Release, visit