Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler had just finished running through a half dozen powerpoint slides revealing the ups and downs of fighting major and minor crimes in Syracuse. He proudly showed how productive his officers are handling more reported crimes and making more arrests compared to a year ago. Fowler noted they are doing more with fewer officers in the ranks, down 7% since 2009. After running through the numbers he responded to a question about his future in the department. After all Fire Chief Mark McLees had just announced he was retiring. The police chief is not.
Chief Fowler said he plans to stay as long as we, meaning the public, all want him to stay. He praised Mayor Stephanie Miner for her leadership of the city. He serves at her pleasure, but it's his pleasure to serve and lead the men and women in blue. "I gotta tell you when I look at the productivity numbers," said Frank Fowler."The men and woman of Syracuse, the job they're doing and I'm the Chief of Police of such great men and women that put it on the line for us each and every day. I can't think of a better place to be."
Fowler said there was nothing in the year end crime numbers that surprised him. That's because he follows the numbers day to day, week to week and month to month. He knew larcenies were up due to an increase of portable electronics like smartphones, GPS devices and iPads being stolen. He knew burglaries jumped in 2012 due to copper thefts from abandoned buildings. He already knew robberies were up. The Chief has redeployed officers this year and already saw the pay off with a fairly quick arrest in the robbery and shooting of north side liquor store owner Tom Dotterer.
Chief Fowler says he runs a department driven by improving these numbers. He is concerned about the pending budget process in Syracuse. Mayor Stephanie Miner has made it clear that budget tightening is coming to help shrink a $20 million dollar deficit. The police chief has not been given a target number for payroll cuts, but he expects he will have to trim. He remains remarkably confident that his department will continue to produce strong results even if they have to do it with fewer officers on duty. And yes, he plans to be serving right alongside them preferably in a second term for Mayor Stephanie Miner.
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