By Mayor Mary Marvin
January 28, 2019
As a Village of only 6500 residents, we benefit from embracingly small and truly getting to know each other. After serving the Village for 30 plus years, the last ten as Chief of Police, I realized I mention Chief Satriale often, but in a very business-like fashion. So much to his chagrin, I chose to do an “Up Close and Personal on Christopher Satriale.”
Born right here at Lawrence Hospital, Chris spent all of his formative years growing up in Eastchester, graduating from Eastchester High School in 1986.
While studying at Pace University, he decided to take the Civil Service Exam and finished so high on the list police department offers were a plenty. Our Bronxville predecessors thankfully saw his potential and made an immediate offer rushing him to Dr. Taylor on Studio Arcade for a same day physical! And the rest is history. (He still owes his dad a now 31 year promise to finish his degree)
He met his wife Nicole at the gas station in Chester Heights across from her family owned Chester Heights Pastry Shop. In a rather dubious story of their meeting, (he still sticks to a flat tire excuse!), they married in 1997 and moved to Pleasantville.
Chris and Nicole raised three athletically talented young men in Pleasantville as a consummate volunteer coach, a “Dad’s Club” member and an active parishioner at Holy Innocents Church. He and Nicole spent many weekends going in two different directions traveling to “garden spot” travel team venues.
They also have two rescue dogs - one of which he likes. In what I believe must be the result of an undetected childhood fall, he is a rabid Dallas Cowboy fan and raised his boys to drink the Kool-Aid! Though in fairness he does like the Mets, but our own Yankees, Giants and Jets are roundly scorned – perhaps grounds for termination?!
Forcing him to sit down with me, I learned he thinks of Bronxville as his first home as he spends so much of his time here and knows people in a very deep and meaningful way. In fact, he said the hardest part of his job is feeling the loss of great residents through their passing.
As to how the Village Police Department has changed, the Chief knows technology has been the biggest driver.
While on patrol 31 years ago, officers brought an am radio from home to hear the news and weather, as all they had was the police frequency. Their work tools were a pad and random pens. Now they have tasers, scanners, laptops, in car printers and 36 cameras throughout the Village.
What he is most proud of is the certified training of now 11 of our 17 patrol officers as Youth Officers and the hospitality of the Bronxville School in offering a space for these officers to just come in and talk to the kids. As a result, officers now often eat lunch in the cafeteria, know children by name, their hobbies and sometimes their fears.
This is especially important since Columbine and 9/11, as officers and institutions have to be actively involved together and prepared to handle the potential dangers of big public gatherings and the term lockdown drill is unfortunately part of our children’s lexicon.
As to youth behavior, the Chief has noticed a progression from acts of vandalism as the major offense when a young officer on patrol to increased events involving drugs and alcohol.
He believes the department is doing a superior job as to the criminal facet of the department with a demonstrable arrest record relating to recent post office scams, bank robberies and personal crimes. On a very comforting note, when a resident needs help in the Village, an officer is there within one to two minutes of receiving a call.
As to final words of advice, the Chief believes in simple common sense and gut feelings.
The adage if you “see something, say something” has proven the wisest advice in countless situations. When canvassing a Village neighborhood after a police event, it never fails that a neighbor says, “Oh, I did see an odd van or a funny night delivery but I just didn’t call the police desk.” The same is true about the proliferation of phone scams of late. If it seems just too good to be true, it most assuredly is. The desk officer is there 24/7 at 337-0500 and the Chief says just call.
What he laments most is his inability to do more on the quality of life issues – more bike and walking patrols and distracted driving and speed monitoring. This would require some increase in the current size of our force which a community conversation invites.
As to the change in adult behavior, it all ties in to the above. The Chief has witnessed that driving habits in particular have become less considerate and more aggressive with electronic devices posing a huge distraction. His advice is simple, “just slow down a little in life and not live it in one mad rush.”
We are blessed beyond measure to have Chief Satriale leading our department as they come no finer.
January 22, 2019
The following is a year end compilation of the most asked questions to Village staffers as well as issues that have generated the most inquires/confusion.
This is also an opportunity to say thank you to every Village employee. We truly have the finest, kindest, most professional group of people dedicated to our Village. It is an honor – and a joy – to interact with them every day. It makes my job truly a pleasure.
Police – Safety – Parking
Our Parking Enforcement Officers, per New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, cannot stop drivers who cross double yellow lines to park. Only a trained police officer can make the stop. As reasoning, consider the scenario – driver is stopped, car is stolen, unregistered or driver dangerous, only a trained police officer is equipped at this juncture to handle the aftermath. In addition, any yellow line violation must be witnessed by a police officer. A video taken and delivered to the PD does not constitute legal grounds for a ticket.
In the past, we have used overtime funds, especially near the holidays, to monitor this violation. However, in 2018, our police department dealt with an unprecedented number of highly unusual incidents including a pervasive mail fraud scheme, store holdup and personal crimes which depleted our funds at an unprecedented rate.
Our Parking Enforcement Officers have defined routes. They cannot stand and wait, cross the street or issue a ticket in another Parking Enforcement Officers (PEO’s) zone. Routes can be tracked and errors in enforcement can be found.
Six national holidays trigger free parking in the Village: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Meters are strictly a tool to ensure parking turnover for our merchants. Without meters, someone could park in front of their stores, walk two blocks and spend the day in New York City. Meter operation is related to store openings and has no relation to the esteem the Village holds for any holiday honoree.
The old adage, “oh it’s the end of the month, so the PD must be under pressure to write more tickets” is just not true. Our Village Police Department has no quotas. In truth, if one is stopped for a NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law Violation, i.e., speeding, the Village receives a flat $15 regardless of the face value of the ticket. Given the time expenditure of the police officer, court clerk and Judge adjudicating the ticket, it is very much a money losing transaction. Tickets are issued for safety concerns only.
Note: Cameras authorized to record speeding are not authorized in New York State. Only a few cities have received a waiver including our neighbor Yonkers.
Crosswalks, to meet requirements, must be from a corner to a corner unless a nearby construction project creates temporary exigent circumstances.
Our police department has measured and re-measured Village streets and has not yet found a continuous stretch of road that meets width, visibility for turning and safety standards. Simply painting a bike lane symbol is not the answer as is evidenced by the configuration on nearby Palmer Road.
If you witness a friend or neighbor in any kind of need, do not hesitate to call our Police Department desk at 914-337-0500. If you wish to remain anonymous, it will be totally respected. The goal - whether a teen or senior – is to get immediate help for one’s friend.
If you do not have a garage or driveway as a part of your property title or plan to move to a Village property that does not have parking, you may put your name on the parking waiting list either in person or online under the header Bronxville Reserved Space Sign-up. (one space per household)
Note: The space previously occupied by the former renter or owner of your new home does not run with the property.
Administrative Functions: There is a great deal of confusion generated by the Bronxville address – Village vs postal code.
If someone pays their taxes to the Village, the State allows us to issue handicap parking permits, offer spaces in the Village owned parking lots and give a discount for the use of recreational facilities. Services such as these are offered in every community in which you write your property tax check.
The Village can issue birth certificates for babies born within the Village boundaries. The first two documents are free and then $10 each thereafter. If born within New York State, one can order a birth certificate online for $30. (a cost closer to the true cost of processing these documents) Vital Statistics such as the above are not “foilable” under the New York State Freedom of Information Law.
New York State also regulates all penalties and time periods for tax payments. We have no discretion whatsoever at the local level to revise penalties or extend payment periods.
In the same vein, new residents to the Village who qualify for the STAR tax exemption must now apply directly to the State and not the Village.
One hundred percent of any credit card fees associated with an administrative transaction at the Village are passed through to the credit card company.
Sadly, the Village has no control over much of the area surrounding the rail station as it is Metro North’s property. Our offers to even do repairs by Village employers/contractors have been rebuffed due to union and liability issues.
The Scout Field area, both upper and lower fields, are almost entirely in the cities of Mt. Vernon and Yonkers and under the umbrella auspices of the County of Westchester. (a very narrow land strip abutting Alden Place is Village property). As a consequence, our police department has no jurisdiction over the property or activity in these other jurisdictions.