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Swearing-In Ceremony For MVPD First Deputy Police Commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioner of Special Initiatives

Photos By Cynthia Turnquest-Jones

Mount Vernon, NY- Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Police Commissioner Glenn Scott swear in recently retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Ernest Morales III as First Deputy Police Commissioner and Jennifer Lackard as Deputy Police Commissioner of Special Initiatives, Tuesday, July 21st. Ernest Morales is the first Latino Deputy Police Commissioner in the history City of Mount Vernon and Jennifer Lackard ushers in a new approach to Community Policing. Lackard’s extensive background in re-entry programs and community relations will increase the bandwidth of the department, much needed in this time of strained community relations.

“Today was the Designations of Deputy Commissioners at City Hall,” shares BW’s Cynthia Turnquest-Jones who was present. “We are celebrating competence. Entertainment by led by a ” as we watched the 1st Deputy Police Commissioner Ernest Morales III and Deputy Police Commissioner of Special Initiatives Jennifer Lackard be sworn in… The men and women of the Mount Vernon Police Department proudly serves as the guardians of life, property and constitutional rights in partnership with the community.”

MVPD Commissioner said this was the first ceremony for a swearing in of a deputy commissioner for the city of Mount Vernon.

“I look towards the PIVOT in the direction SAFETY, COURTESY & RESPECT,” Mount Vernon resident Ken Bright, founder of the L.P.S. Group – Lockdown Progressive Services Cooperation shared with Black Westchester. “Community relations is key to the de-escalation in Crime and sincere Partnership between the necessary partners mentioned today and attended this SPECIAL PRESENTATION should be ready to get to work.”

 

Ernest Morales III 1st Deputy Police Commissioner Ernest Morales III joined the NYPD 10-15-1990. He served with distinction, in the New York City Police Department for 30 years. His last assignment was as the Executive Officer of Housing Borough Bronx/Queens. He was the Commanding Officer of Transit District 12 and the 042nd Precinct where he hosted a free Halloween Haunted house for the community, thanksgiving dinners and a Christmas Winter wonderland at his command. 

He also served as a volunteer for Tuesdays Children which help raise over $250,000 hosting charitable amateur boxing events between the NYPD and LAPD teams. He continues to serve with Avenues for Justice which keeps youth out of prison. The supervised program provides court advocacy, tutoring and mentorship, gets participants the drug, alcohol and mental health treatment and job training they need to succeed. We serve over 600 youths per year, and more than 90% of our graduates never commit another crime. 

He has earned a Master of Science degree from John Jay College of criminal Justice, is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy (F.B.I.N.A) session #214, is a member of the NYPD running club and has completed 24 marathons becoming the first member of the department to complete the Abbott World Marathon majors. Throughout his career he has never reported sick. Additionally, he is a current member of the United Sates Navy reserves with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. First Deputy Commissioner Morales is also a Deputy Commissioner with the New York State Athletic Commission and regulates all combat sports in the State of New York. 

He was the first ever intelligence liason to the Unidad de intelligencia Naval, Mexico’s Naval Intelligence Unit. Where he interacted with Mexican Navy officials daily and United States Embassy Staff while assigned to Mexico City D.F. He Enlisted in the United States Navy April 28, 1999 and was Commissioned, September 30, 2007. He was a mentor to lieutenants in preparation to the rank of Captain as part of the NYPD’s 20/20 program. Deputy Inspector Morales has been married to his lovely wife, Yolanda Morales for 28 years and they have four beautiful children: Ayla, Justina, Jeremy, and Mackenzie. 

Jennifer Lackard Deputy Commissioner for Special Initiatives will oversee the development of strategies for police reform, behavioral health and wellness for both officers and community, policies and procedures, implementation of the new Civilian Complaint Review Board and re-entry support for formerly incarcerated persons. 

Lackard brings a wealth of knowledge and resources to the City of Mount Vernon having worked on the community level as President of the Station of Hope prison re-entry ministry at Grace Baptist Church and organizer of the Re-Entry Meetup for Westchester County since 2015. Most recently, Lackard created the Mount Vernon Re-Entry Coalition which narrowed the focus of community stakeholders to more operational and quality of life issues surrounding mental illness, police and community interactions and leadership development opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. Lackard is also head of the Mount Vernon Re-Entry Panel at the Westchester County Detention Center where she collaborates with network service providers, each month, to help connect the dots to self-sufficiency for Mount Vernon residents preparing for community integration. In 2018, Lackard partnered with the Westchester County Department of Correction to spearhead and design an 8-week civic and community engagement curriculum which was successful in registering and facilitating the absentee balloting experience for hundreds of jail detainees. In that same campaign, Lackard worked with city, state and federal community supervision offices throughout Harlem, Bronx and Westchester counties to deliver a massive voter empowerment effort, as a result of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 181, which restored voting rights to parolees. In 2019, Lackard was appointed to the Westchester County Probation Advisory Board, by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, which was tasked by Executive Order to promote the implementation of alternatives to incarceration in an attempt to ensure public safety, reduce recidivism and prevent overcrowding in the jail system. 

Lackard has spent the last decade working with justice-involved populations and empowering communities to organize around social equity issues, particularly at the intersection of public health and public safety. Hyper-focused on amplifying the voice and participation of the justice- involved in Black and Brown communities, Lackard is known for her person-centered approach in building equitable and just campaigns around prison re-entry, behavioral health, civic engagement and overall health and wellness. Immediately before transitioning to MVPD, Lackard was the Chief Program Manager for Re- Entry Link Charitable, Chief Strategist for Re-Entry Link, LLC and Publisher of the Re-Entry Chronicle newspaper where she built innovative and socially relevant programs for vulnerable populations. Most recently, Lackard was funded by the multi- state No Health = No Justice campaign to support decarceration efforts to ensure that people are no longer criminalized for conditions related to their health. Some of this funding has supported Lackard’s charitable initiatives including the Race for Re-Entry, a 5K Walk Run Ride event designed to co-create safe, healthy and inclusive communities in neighborhoods vastly impacte by incarceration as well as other activities to improve police and community relationships such as Community Hoops, where police officers played alongside community in all day youth, women, men and wheelchair basketball games and Community Conversations which gave disenfranchised members of the community an opportunity to have frank and respectful dialogue with law enforcement. 

Lackard’s most indelible marks have been made in the behavioral healthcare space where she created a health and human services agency to offer behavioral health solutions to defendants navigating the criminal justice system, from arrest to release. With very few resources, Lackard grew the fledgling clinic 

into a full-service continuum of care for both mental health and substance abuse consumers which included intensive outpatient therapy, medical services overseen by a forensic psychiatrist and clinical services delivered by over 20 qualified professionals, licensed and credentialed in mental health, addiction, social work and peer support. Lackard led the charge, and oversaw the survey process, to attain full national accreditation for the outpatient facility while simultaneously creating a Human Capital Division to match recovery patients with employment, housing, educational and family stabilization supportive opportunities. 

Lackard was also instrumental in the development of a system of care that galvanized key stakeholders to create a mental health court, which is still in successful operation almost a decade later. Not only was Lackard’s agency the backbone by which funding for the specialized court was obtained but she also created the framework for how the court would operate from intake to discharge, writing policies and procedures as well as developing crisis intervention and training protocol for judges, district attorneys, public defenders and law enforcement. Lackard took what was intended as a unique fundraising model to subsidize the organization’s re-entry work and transformed it into the foundation for a multi-year sustainability plan that treated the disenfranchised with humility and dignity while simultaneously protecting public safety. Lackard’s unapologetic drive to develop a caring community for both the justice- involved and behavioral health population from pre-arrest to post-community release is remarkable. Most notably, Lackard’s commitment to the crisis intervention model led to an invitation to train law enforcement officers from across the country, at an International CIT Conference. 

A native of the Bronx, Lackard recently completed two terms on Bronx Community Board 9 where she was a member of the Public Safety Committee and is now on the ballot for Judicial Delegate in the 85th Assembly District. She is a graduate of the NYPD Citizen’s Police Academy and is a Community Partner with NYPD’s Bronx Command as well as a member of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ)’s, Justice Implementation Task Force where she is assigned to the Culture Change, Programming Subcommittee which makes recommendations to the Mayor on re-entry programming and services for the new borough-based jail system. 

Lackard is an effective leader and organizer who is respected for her passion and ability to bring diverse perspectives together to coalesce on a common agenda. While Lackard’s commitment to improving the overall health and wellness of impacted communities is unparalleled, her grassroots approach to problem solving and agile leadership effectively marries evidence-based programming with quality assurance that yields strong metrics and optimal organizational performance.

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About AJ Woodson (2278 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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