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NYPD's O'Neill Reaches Out To Bronx Church Leaders To Help Fight Crime

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill reached out to hundreds of church leaders in the Bronx Sunday.

O'Neill met with community members from more than 600 churches to talk about ways to keep neighborhoods safe. He said he has experience working with churches in the South Bronx.

O'Neill told the audience that crime has dropped in the city.

"The New York City Police Department is the premiere city in the nation as far as fighting gun violence," O'Neill said. "We're a majority minority police department, and that's what it takes to keep this city safe. That's what it takes to build trust."

O'Neill said patrol officers are making a difference every day.

As 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported, Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx was filled with religious leaders and their followers, eager to hear from O'Neill. Though they had concerns about numerous issues, the most important one seemed to be the safety of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The Rev. Frank Skelly asked O'Neill in English and Spanish – if a person calls 911 because Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrive at his or her home or work, could a police officer respond to make sure the immigrant's rights are protected.

O'Neill responded, "I cannot commit to that right now, but I will commit to working with you to come up with some alternative to keep everybody in this city safe."

Despite the applause, Skelly said he was disappointed. O'Neill explained it was a question of manpower.

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