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Yonkers' Stop, Shake Program Lends Helping Hands For Community Relations

Yonkers Police Officer John Mucilli from the 4th Precinct shaking hands with a resident in Downtown Yonkers after the initiative was announced by Mayor Spano.
Yonkers Police Officer John Mucilli from the 4th Precinct shaking hands with a resident in Downtown Yonkers after the initiative was announced by Mayor Spano. Photo Credit: Yonkers Police Department

YONKERS, N.Y. — Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano along with Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner has introduced a new program to create good relationships between the residents of Yonkers and the Yonkers Police Department.

This new program is called Stop and Shake , where residents can stop and approach a police officer and extend their hand to the officer and introduce themselves.

This new program was created by Yonkers resident Hector Santiago, who wanted to help break the communication gap between the community and law enforcement.

"The path to changing our future, is in our youth. Kids are scared of cops and all I'm trying to emphasize is that there are more good cops and civilians then there are bad of both," said Santiago.

There has been tremendous support so far, said Santiago.

"It's been amazing. Community members have stopped me every day since the launch of this program to share their stories with me. Police officers say it's easier to start conversations with the community," said Santiago.

A GoFundMe account has been set up so supporters can help fund the program

“The debate over stop and frisk and the events that unfolded in Ferguson and Staten Island have brought issues of race, policing and poverty to the top of the national conversation,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “But too often we focus on what divides us, instead of finding common ground to unite us. That’s why Stop and Shake is so powerful.”

According to Yonkers Detective Lt. Patrick McCormack, "the initiative has been very well received by our Officers and the community."

The Yonkers Police Department's Facebook page has been viewed quite frequently and the video already has had more than 38,000 views.

“Stop and Shake will provide our officers increased opportunities to have positive interactions with members of our community," Gardner said. "I believe a simple handshake and cordial conversation between police officers and the public will result in increased communication, mutual respect and improved overall police-community relations here in our city.”

“No matter what color your skin is, what religion you practice or the language you speak, shaking hands sends a universal message of respect and camaraderie,” said Spano. “One conversation at a time, one handshake at a time, we can build a stronger Yonkers — and we can do it together.”

For more information or to get involved with the Stop and Shake program, you can e-mail stopandshake@yahoo.com

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