Rafael Salamanca Jr. will be a busy man come September.
He’ll not only continue as district manager for Community Board 2, covering Longwood/Hunts Point, he’ll also serve as president of 41st Precinct Community Council, a rare move in the Bronx.
But pulling double-duty isn’t a case of double-dipping, since the council post is voluntary, unlike the DM post that pays a salary.
“I don’t think I’m adding another responsibility,” said Salamanca. “I think I’m enhancing my position.”
Elected in June, Salamanca now replaces longtime Council President Rosa Burgos.
His election now streamlines two influential civic groups that often speak on the same topics.
While council meetings serve as non-voting forums between folks and the precinct’s commanding officer, board meetings work in the same vein, except the public speaks to its civic leaders.
But unlike CB2 meetings, where agendas and information packets are always distributed, Salamanca noticed a need for more structure at the council.
In overseeing the council, Salamanca said he hopes to draw young people to meetings.
The Four-One has long been considered an active house. So far, it’s seen a double-digit spike in major crime from last year, a trend Salamanca blames on youth and youth crime.
The issue hits close to home for Salamanca, the father of a 13-year-old who keeps an extra eye out for any would-be thugs roaming about.
To lower those numbers, the council will regularly change venues starting in October, gathering exclusively at area high schools as a way to bring the meetings to students.
By doing this, Salamanca intends to break the “us vs. them” mold that’s so often the case between police officers and minority neighborhoods.
“I’m not going to say they’re going to be best friends in the world,” said Salamanca. “But you will have better communication.”
Along with distributing minutes, the council will now institute a Cop of the Month award sponsored by Senator Jeff Klein that honors an officer for making a good arrest.
Salamanca has enjoyed success at his DM post, taking a very hands-on approach and instilling a sense of transparency.
In March, Salamanca donned a bulletproof vest to help close three troubled nightclubs during an overnight, multi-agency raid.
Salamanca’s council term last two years. By then, he hopes to have made a lasting impact.
“I’m going to bring the police to the people,” he said.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383