Policing in an urban environment can be challenging and unpredictable. When a crisis situation arises it is crucial that our residents, police officers and officials come together quickly in a spirit of openness and honesty, knowing that there is no problem we cannot solve if we all work together. With that goal in mind, City Manager Charles B. Strome, III has created the Clergy Rapid Response Team, a body of faith leaders who will mobilize as needed in times of an emergency to ensure that communication, cooperation and coordination are quickly established.
Oftentimes crisis situations arise between the police and community that are neither intended nor anticipated. A crisis can come suddenly, or it can be the result of a longstanding issue. The Clergy Rapid Response team will work with the department and members of the community proactively to help the police understand the community’s concerns, and vise-versa. The team will consist of up to a dozen clergy from the houses of worship that serve the African-American community of New Rochelle, who will be selected by the City Manager. They will undergo a training program to familiarize and coordinate themselves with the police department’s leadership and policies.
If an incident were to occur, The Clergy Rapid Response Team will serve as a buffer and liaison, bridging any gaps created in the heat of the moment. Team members will respond to ensure that key lines of communication and cooperation are quickly established among the City leadership, police leadership and members of the community.
“I expect that the benefits of the Clergy Rapid Response Team will be many,” said City Manager Charles Strome. “It will engage the police and the clergy in a proactive way before crisis occurs; and will provide a platform for police and clergy to respond to crisis in our community in a coordinated and effective way. Finally, it will provide the opportunity for the City’s houses of worship to develop strong working relationships in an effort to positively impact the community we all serve.”
Police Commissioner Joseph Schaller said, “The New Rochelle Police Department and New Rochelle’s clergy have a long history of working together in service of the city. The Clergy Rapid Response Team will give the police department and our clergy a capacity to respond more effectively to crises in the city. We in the department are excited to be working with our clergy in this excellent endeavor.”
The following members have been selected to serve on the Clergy Rapid Response Team:
Rev. Dr. Ray Mott – Family Christian Center
Minister Mark McLean – Family Christian Center
Bishop Fetson Leak – Gateway Deliverance Church
Bishop Derek Pierson – Holy Light House Church
Rev. Dr. Orville Beckford – Grace New Life Center
Rev. Dr. Allen Weaver Jr. – Bethesda Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. David Holder – New York Covenant Church
Minister Richard Adamson Jr. – Gospel Tabernacle
Pastor Janice Arby – Union Baptist Church
Pastor David Lyerly – Bibleway Church
Bishop Martin Nelson – Beezer Holiness Church
Pastor Denise Campbell – St. Paul’s FBH
Minister Mark McLean said, “The role of the church is to be a refuge and an ever-present source of help to our community. As Ministers of the Gospel and Clergy in New Rochelle we are delighted to be part of the creation of The Clergy Rapid Response team to work with our police department to ensure safe, empathic, and effective police response in times of crisis.”