Ithaca's new Officer Next Door program will make residents feel safer, says Mayor Myrick

January 20, 2016 by Rachel Cera

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick says a new program that will help police officers live on the city's West Hill "will make residents feel safer." 

Common Council's City Administration Committee will discuss the "Officer Next Door" program at a meeting tonight. The program would subsidize rental costs for police officers who wanted to live in West Village, an apartment complex which the mayor says "has a higher than average crime rate and, as a result, a higher than average vacancy rate."

IPD's West End District Office.IPD's West End District Office.The Ithaca Police Department also last year opened a West End District Office, geared toward putting "IPD officers right in the heart of the West End," according to police chief John Barber. "When staffing allows for the creation of the Community Action Team (CAT) they will be working directly out of the District Office," Chief Barber told us. "Some meetings have already been held there with more scheduled in the future."

"I believe that having an officer next door will increase the department's positive interactions with the community and will make residents feel safer," said Mayor Myrick on Facebook. 

The owner of the West Village apartments is offering a rent subsidy to police officers who volunteer to live in the complex. The program being discussed at tonight's meeting would be generally worded to allow additional areas of the city to be added later. Common Council would have to rule that the program doesn't constitute a "gift" of more than $75, which police officers are prohibited from accepting.

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