City of Poughkeepsie Welcomes Police Officers


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By Jennifer L. Warren

POUGHKEEPSIE – Carisma Collins lives her life, guided by the mantra: “Be the change you want to see.” It was instilled in her by her parents when she was a little girl, and its meaning has intensified each year of her life.

Friday afternoon, Collins, along with six others, officially took an oath as a newly sworn in police officer for the City of Poughkeepsie at the Common Council Chambers at City Hall. The milestone moment marked the realization of a dream Collins has had since 16 years old when she was a junior at Poughkeepsie High School when a state trooper spoke to her Criminal Justice class. The following year, Collins enrolled in a Career and Law Enforcement Program after school, sparking off something even more critical inside the girl who wanted to make positive changes around her.+

Friday, at the Common Council Chambers of City Hall, five new police officers, along with officers who were promoted to the ranks of Sergeant and Detective, took their official paths to serve their community.
Friday, at the Common Council Chambers of City Hall, five new police officers, along with officers who were promoted to the ranks of Sergeant and Detective, took their official paths to serve their community.

“I immediately knew I wanted to work right here in my home City of Poughkeepsie,” said Collins, who holds both undergraduate and graduate college degrees. “This day means an accomplishment for the City of Poughkeepsie even more than it does for me.” She continued, “I spoke in the past about a need for diversity and reform to help meet the needs of the community, and in so doing, the City of Poughkeepsie created a Police Modernization and Reform Plan, allowing me to be here today, as someone living and working as a police officer in her home town.”

Joining Collins in taking the Oath were; Ismael Chisolm, Matthew Ragni, Joseph Dworkin, Walter Urieta-Cruz, Gerry Mendez, and Thomas Elem. Additionally, Gregory Schwarzenegger was promoted to the rank of Sergeant; while Daniel Horton moved up to Detective.

The occasion was attended by City of Poughkeepsie Mayor, Rob Rolison, a former police officer, whose son is also currently an officer in Westchester County. Very familiar with the demands of the job as well as incredible sacrifices that need to be made, Rolison expressed gratitude to the new members’ families.

“We want you to know how much we appreciate you lending us your family members,” said Rolison, as he looked out to guests attending the ceremony. “These are challenging times, very different than when I was an officer, but being a cop has always been about helping folks, what it’s all about, and if you approach it with that mindset, things will be easier, even in the most stressful situations, because your mere presence can calm things and make a real difference.” Rolison added, “This City’s Police Department has a long, proud tradition of doing very well working through challenges, and the people who are a part of it look out for-back up its own; I want the residents here to know we are doing everything we can for people in this department, so they can do their jobs to protect you.”

For Collins, that support of her City means everything. Not only is she living her dream of giving back to the City where she grew up, but she is aspiring to do even more.

“As I look out in this crowd today, I see little girls who looked like me one day at that age,” said a smiling Collins. “I hope they too are looking at me, and seeing it’s possible to do this one day too.”

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