The villages of Harriman and Tuxedo Park are soliciting public views on draft reports prepared to meet a state mandate for “reinvention” of all local police departments.
Meanwhile, the Town of Woodbury has begun the process of putting together its plan.
Communities that don’t complete such reform plans by April 1 could lose state aid. In addition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-22 budget proposal provides for the appointment of monitors by the Attorney General, at localities’ expense, to ensure that the reviews are conducted and “community voices are heard.”
Village of Harriman
Harriman, whose department is accredited by the state and has promised to seek renewal of that status, will hold an in-person hearing at 7:10 p.m. March 9 at Village Hall before a scheduled Village Board meeting.
The draft reform report declares that “The Village of Harriman Police Department is committed to fostering an open and trusting relationship with the community in which it serves.”
The department pledges to improve its collaboration with local mental health agencies, a priority for many local law enforcement agencies
The report also notes that the department recently updated its use of force policy to reflect recent changes in state/federal law prohibiting the use of carotid control holds.
Finally, the report says the department will seek training opportunities in the best policing practices “including but not limited to de- escalation tactics, implicit or unconscious bias, procedural justice, and community policing. “
The Harriman report is available at https://www.villageofharriman.org/uploads/4/2/9/6/42961709/police_reform_plan__draft_2021-02-23_.pdf
Village of Tuxedo Park
After working through 100 questions and issues raised by a state guidebook a state guidebook on the reform process, a Tuxedo Park committee prepared a draft report that is open to public comment until March 17 (The committee expects to continue meeting even after a plan is adopted.)
The police department started to review its policies as soon as Cuomo issued his executive order mandating the reinvention process. New polices were written on de-escalation, bias-related incidents and hate crimes, crime victim services, internal affairs and personnel complaints, biased policing, arrests and investigatory stops and the response to mental health calls. The use of force policy was amended.
Police officers have received training in the use of force, implicit bias, procedural justice and de-escalation. Training in those topics will continue annually.
The committee’s discussions uncovered no problems with systemic racism, biased policing or discriminatory practices.
The village draft points out that “With the Village of Tuxedo Park is a gated community where only residents and authorized guests are permitted, the issues and problems may seem minimal compared to other communities.”
Town of Woodbury
Like many local communities, Woodbury recently established an advisory committee of citizens and public officials to weigh the practices and policies of its police department. It was scheduled to hold its first session on March 3.
Further meetings will be held March 10 and March 17. Public input will be sought on March 24.
Information about the town’s process can be found at https://www.townofwoodbury.com/document-center/police/1307-woodbury-police-safety-reinvention-and-collaborative-plan/file.html
- Jeff Storey