The City of Rochester produced a video about Operation Cool Down, calling it a “softer gentler way” of policing.
It shows a police officer handing out posters to businesses that say “Take Back Your City.” The video talks about the need for better police-community relationships. Cool Down was prompted after an 82 percent rise in shootings this year.
In the video, Chief Jim Sheppard said this is not a “Zero Tolerance” initiative, when the city saturated neighborhoods with officers, prompting complaints citizens were hassled over minor offenses. But that runs contrary to what the chief told reporters the day he launched Cool Down.
Although the Cool Down video is clearly labeled a City Hall production, it was produced like a news story. There’s no danger of a local news station airing this report, as happened with a federal video news release scandal. But the practice makes me a little uncomfortable. Should our tax dollars be paying the city to produce news-like videos or should this be seen a mere press release?
After covering this initiative, I still cannot define the Cool Down program. It appears to be what should be regular policing. After the watching the video, it also looks like a big heap of public relations.
Links of the Day:
– A Democrat and Chronicle columnist was prepared to do a sweet story on a whimsical yard filled with merry-go-round-horses and birdhouses. Instead she found neighbors calling it a “hot mess.”
– Carl Paladino and the Buffalo Sabres have each submitted proposals for downtown waterfront redevelopment. Buffalo is so much farther along than Rochester in making the most of its canal and lakefront.
– A $500 million dollar hotel development is planned in Niagara Falls…Canada.