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CV, Dobbs Ferry Police to Collaborate on Reducing Stress to Department

Changes at Children's Village and Partnership with Police should reduce burden on local law enforcement, the agency president says.

Rather than comment on the past, Children's Village President and CEO Jeremy Kohomban hopes to make significant changes that will affect his agency's—and the village of Dobbs Ferry's—futures.

"I trust [Dobbs Fery Police Chief] Betsy Gelardi's word if she said there have been more police calls here in the last three years," Kohomban said. "I think these things are cyclical, but that there are many changes we plan to make that will make things better going forward."

According to Gelardi, there have been 277 "Missing Person's" reports filed by Children's Village staff in 2012. "This is a huge burden for us—especially because our department is down four officers," she said. That number does not include arrests or other police reports filed. 

Gelardi has recently met with Kohomban to try to better understand the situation and hopefully reduce the stress on her department. 

"We aren't sure exactly what the problem is, but we are sure things have to change," she said.

Kohomban attributes some of the extra calls to the agency being more fastidious about adhering to NY state mandates about reporting missing residents and incidents on his campus.

"While the laws haven't changed, they're being more strongly enforced," he said.

Unlike Graham-Windham and many similar agencies in Westchester, CV will continue to be an alternative to detention center—"because that is what we were founded as," Kohomban said. 

But some changes that are in the works at Children's Village include: increasing the staff-to-student ratio, taking in more immigrant residents—changing the ratio of immigrant to domestic students who live on campus—and reducing the number of residents in each cottage.

"Reducing the number of students per cottage from 14-to-16 to 10-to-14 should make a huge difference," he said. However, making the transition is dependent on their procuring suffient funds. 

"We've started a huge fund-raising effort," Kohomban said. "We hope to have raised enough to start this in 2013." He added that the agency has received no increase in the money provided for each student's room, board and education in more than three years. 

Kohomban also mentioned that they had installed more security cameras on campus.

Gelardi stressed that her work with Children's Village should be a partnership—not adversarial.

"We know they do great work," she said. "Many of the problems have to do more with changing legislation."

committed to working with legislators and leaders of agencies like Children's Village and Graham-Windham to help address the situation.

"We first need to recognize exactly what the biggest problems are and address the ones that would make the greatest difference," she said. "We're very optimistic that we'll be able to work together on this."

Both Gelardi and Bloomer hope to have more information after their next meeting in July. 

Dr. J. Schlesinger June 28, 2012 at 03:06 PM
The problem is more than just kids going AWOL. Each week, the Enterprise contains at least one report of physical attacks of Children's Village kids on their counselors, or each other, incidents that require police intervention. Even among the privileged at Masters, there are frequent thefts of laptops and cell phones, as well as numerous occasions when the fire engines roll up there for a false alarm. It's maddening that such places continue to get Village assistance and protection for free. It's not like Dobbs is rolling in extra money or anything. CV's maintaining flower boxes in town is hardly enough payback; nor is letting non-students walk on the new $6 million track at Masters (and don't start me on Mercy College going back on its tennis court deal with the Village). Since the laws are probably immutable regarding non-profit tax exemptions, wouldn't it be worthwhile for the Board to look into other ways the Village could be compensated so it wouldn't be such an unfair and lopsided arrangement?
David Freedman June 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I think a good first step may be real security and cameras rather than waste any more of our time and money. Admint less people if you need to in order to afford cameras. What the CV hides from dobbs residents is that violent felons waiting for trial are kept there and hundreds of residnets are allowed to live there in apartments to support theire family member resident with no backround checks. Why can't they simply secure their property and prevent escapes and violent crimes against dobbs ferry. Their inaction all this time is a joke. They don't care about dobbs residents. When one gets raped or killed THEN the CV will pay for cameras and badge access for every building. The current CV administration has demonstrated for years that they will allow anyone to live up there in apartments as well without checking their backround or anything. Do they report sex offenders living in apartments?
ThinningTheHerd June 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Let's get them the hell outta there and keep the gentrification going. We can put more mediocre faceless white suburbanites afraid of their own shadows up there, maybe turn it into a quaint little maul. With an added plus we could kill a lot of deer while we're at it. We dont need this "rehab" facilities around here. Get Hastings Mayor Peter Swiderski on this right away, this is right up his alley. Of course he'll posture for a time as concerned lib, but he's shown us where his bread is buttered.
J June 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Having the Childrens Village in Dobbs Ferry poses a threat to all Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Ardsley and Tarrytown residents. Why not close that facilty down or move it somewhere else where we don't need to feel unsafe in our own neighborhood. God knows we pay enough taxes to live here. We should not feel like we are next to a jail. If the residents at childrens village want to commit crimes then arrest them and send the to VALHALLA!
ILikeThisHorse June 29, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Rather than comment on the past," Mr. Kohomban? Is C.V.'s past really not at issue here? It would be nice to sweep it all under the rug, but your past performance deserves to be noted, for you may as well be running a training facility for young criminals. I realize it's not all of your kids, but it is plenty, it's far too many. Rather look to others Kohomban, why not look to yourself. You're simply not making it happen. It's obvious that there are those who are not catching on to the whole rehabilitation thing, so be it, but at the very least you should be able to corral the little monsters. Yes, monsters, that's what you call kids who prey on pedestrians along the aqueduct . Make due with what you have and if you can't control certain of your youth, ship them up to the big club. Your statements on this issue show you to be nothing but a paycheck cashing bureaucrat. These kids go from homes of crime and mayhem to CV where they find you and your crackerjack staff of "professionals." Own your past Kohomban and make it happen, or get the hell out.

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