Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
Alliance For Downtown New York Helps Prepare Next Generation of New York City Police Officers
February 22, 2007

Innovative Security Scholarship Program Provides Opportunity for the Downtown Alliance's Public Safety Officers to Earn a College Degree and Qualify for the NYPD

The Alliance for Downtown New York today announced that Wilfredo Rivera, a three-year veteran of its public safety staff, has completed his training at the New York City Police Department Academy and is now a probationary New York City police officer.

Officer Rivera graduated from the Police Academy on December 26, 2006 and has been assigned to Lower Manhattan's 1st Precinct, the very neighborhood he patrolled as a Downtown Alliance public safety officer.

During his time as a Downtown Alliance public safety officer, Mr. Rivera participated in the organization's innovative Private Security Scholarship Program, which provides eligible public safety officers with full tuition at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. This assistance allows these dedicated security officers, many of whom hope to join the NYPD, to earn an Associate Degree and meet the NYPD's requirement that new recruits have 60 college credits. The Downtown Alliance currently has 63 public safety officers on staff and provides a variety of security services to Lower Manhattan year-round, 24-hours-day, seven days a week.

"Our Private Security Scholarship Program is a win-win proposition," says Eric Deutsch, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "In addition to providing an excellent education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford college, this program helps the Downtown Alliance recruit and develop a more skilled and committed workforce and improve the quality of security services it provides throughout Lower Manhattan."

Along with providing financial assistance, the Downtown Alliance also offers students access to computers and study space at the Financial District police substation it built for and shares with the NYPD. The scholarship program and the partnership between the Downtown Alliance and the NYPD has proven to be highly beneficial to both organizations and serves as a model that can be replicated by other business improvement districts throughout the city and country.

According to recent FBI and NYPD statistics, New York City remains the safest large city in America. The city experienced a 4.3 % drop in overall crime last year, bringing the cumulative decrease from 2001 to 17.7%. Overall crime in Lower Manhattan has decreased 77 % since 1990, including a 7.4 % decrease in 2005. The constant presence of the Downtown Alliance's supplemental security force has helped the NYPD keep Lower Manhattan a very safe place to live, work and visit, and provides excellent preparation for the security officers interested in joining the NYPD.

The Downtown Alliance's security staff regularly and effectively interacts with members of the NYPD, the business community and countless tourists and residents, which provides them with valuable hands-on experience in the public safety field and the NYPD with extremely qualified applicants.

The Downtown Alliance's scholarship program really has made a difference in the lives of its security personnel, "and has successfully assisted two of its recipients in becoming New York City Police Officers," says New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

The Alliance for Downtown New York developed the Private Security Scholarship Program in 2000 in partnership with Borough of Manhattan Community College, the Manhattan Borough President's Office, the NYPD, and the Downtown Alliance's security provider as a way help the NYPD increase minority recruitment and strengthen the Downtown Alliance's employee recruitment, motivation and retention efforts. The Downtown Alliance's current security contractor, Initial Security, actively seeks out candidates for employment who can take advantage of this program, and educators from the Borough of Manhattan Community College provide participants with thorough academic testing and counseling.

"The Borough of Manhattan Community College is educating some of the most talented and promising students who will one day make their own marks in the City and in the world," says Dr. Antonio Perez, President of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. "I am especially proud of all the students who are participating in the Downtown Alliance's Scholarship Program and feel very gratified whenever a graduate joins the NYPD as a result of the opportunity this program provides. The partnership between the Borough of Manhattan Community College which has been a pillar of Lower Manhattan since 1983 and the Downtown Alliance strives to improve all aspects of life in Lower Manhattan. This scholarship program is just one way we are working together to provide what locally-based businesses need and local residents want."

To be eligible for the Private Security Scholarship, The Downtown Alliance's public safety officers must have completed nine months of service with the organization, meet college admission requirements and maintain satisfactory grades. Thirty-two public safety officers have enrolled in the scholarship program since its inception, with the goal of having all Downtown Alliance security officers take advantage of this opportunity.

Mr. Rivera is the second Downtown Alliance security officer to become a New York City Police Officer. Mr. Rivera joins Darin Smalls, another graduate of the scholarship program, in the NYPD. Mr. Smalls has been a police office since January 2005 and is currently assigned to the 42 Precinct in the Bronx.

In addition to Mr. Rivera and Mr. Smalls, another former Downtown Alliance security officer has recently joined the NYPD. Jennifer Cruz joined the Downtown Alliance's public safety staff in January 2005 and entered the Police Academy in November 2006. Ms. Cruz will graduate from the NYPD academy in June 2007 and will be assigned to NYPD's School Safety Division.

Twin brothers Angel and Julio Valle have also received their college degrees through the scholarship program and continue to serve as Downtown Alliance security officers.

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