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Changing the Narrative to Positive Policing in Syracuse while Keeping the Public Safe

John Smith / WAER News

The Syracuse Police Benevolent Association has decided to launch a campaign to interject the positive apsects that police bring to the community amid a growing call for police reforms.  “The Syracuse needs Police” campaign follows two deadly homicides in the city – the most recent an 11 month-old infant last Sunday.  SPBA President Joseph Moran says the association plans to further the conversation about hampered quality of life issues while raising awareness about the work they perform.

“To further the discussion regarding the need for police in Syracuse.  To share positive stories and interactions between the community members and officers.  In attempt to return the city of Syracuse to a state of stability and secureness.”            

The community is mourning the loss this week of an 11 month-old infant who was struck by bullet while seated in a vehicle and a senior citizen living at Skyline Apartments was also killed.  As Syracuse mourns an infant, another family is morning the loss of a young black man from Minnesota – Daunte Wright - shot by police there.   When it comes to use of force, Moran says people need to understand how officers are trained to respond.

“Again, we’re receptive to training and improving our profession.  Back to that point and I think there’s one thing we can’t forget here when we look at a lot of these scenarios – almost all of them – a lack of compliance, a form of resisting arrest.  We don’t want to have to use force.  We don’t want to do that.  But, when people flee from the police or resist arrest or confront police, then we have to act.”

Moran says protestors in Syracuse who at some point gathered outside of the public safety building and directed, “obscenities and vulgarities at the police (including new recruits arriving for first-time interviews) don’t represent the overall sentiment of the community.”  However, he believes the police have a good portion of the community who support them despite the reactions by some of the public including graffiti on the city’s public safety building.

“The relationships are there.  We’ve recently had some national news stories that have been magnified and they are important but, it is not a real reflection of the work we do day to day, 99 percent of the time.”

Moran says the SPBA is receptive to officers being trained on how to handle calls where people are mentally distressed.  However, he doesn’t think there is ever going to be a perfect solution because even the most minor calls in nature can escalate quickly. 

He feels there is a direct correlation to the city’s homicide rate and increase in crimes as a result of reform and legislation such as bail reform.  Moran predicts a violent year ahead in Syracuse.  Fortunately, he says the Syracuse Police Department’s arrest rate stands at over 80-percent since 2017.  If you’d like to get more information about the “Syracuse Needs Police” campaign and a sticker, you can call (315) 442-5400 or email   

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.