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Amid two homicide cases, new Public Safety Commissioner starts in Rome
ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - As the Rome Police Department continues to investigate two homicides within the past week, the city now has a new Public Safety Commissioner.
Michael Grande begins his new position on Tuesday and retired from the New York State Police on Friday, following 32 years as a homicide detective. He says the irony isn't lost on him that he left a more than three decade position investigating homicides to begin a new position just days after two homicides in Rome.
As Grande looks through the old boxes of files from the previous Public Safety Commissioner, he says he looks forward to keeping Rome residents safe, because he too is one of them and these people are all his neighbors.
He says that despite the scary fact that there were two murders here last week, he believes Rome is a very safe city.
"I've been a resident of this city my whole life and I have never felt unsafe walking around the City of Rome, even before I was a police officer, and I don't think they have to have that fear right now," he said. "I think the police are confident there is a particular reason these individuals were targeted."
As Public Safety Commissioner, Grande will only be working part-time, about 12 hours a week, but he says he will be working very closely with both police and fire.
He says he has already had discussions with Rome Police Chief Kevin Beach and really likes Chief Beach's introduction last year of the Community Impact Unit.
"And I also saw that the chief is making a change in the way patrols are utilized in the city, going to an operation where they know the neighborhood much more intimately, which I totally agree with," he said.
Commissioner Grande says he will not only work closely with City Council and the Chief of both the police and fire departments, but also with residents.