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Regular police reform plans proposed in NY

There hasn’t been much public discussion of police reform in New York state since 2020.

Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick wants the conversations held two years ago to become a recurring discussion around the state. The Nanuet Democrat has introduced S.9114, the Police Reform and Reinvention Act of 2022 would require a progress report every two years on police improvement plans submitted by cities and their police departments in 2020.

The 2020 process started after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that required a public process involving every police department in the state culminating in a report submitted to the state no later than April 1, 2021.

Reichlin-Melnick said there has been no way for the public to see whether police departments are following through on those planning documents since they were submitted to the state.

“This bill remedies that defect by setting up an ongoing process for police departments and community members to come together every two years to evaluate the progress towards reform and report to New York on the progress toward the goals contained within the originally adopted plans,” Reichlin-Melnick wrote in his legislative justification.

“Setting up this new biennial requirement will increase engagement between police agencies and community stakeholders, will ensure that community stakeholders’ inputs are incorporated in the planning process, create an environment of mutual partnership and trust, and will help make sure all New Yorkers feel safe, protected, and heard.”

The biennial reports would begin on April 1, 2023, and include actions taken by the local government and police agency to advance the plan, including actions taken to address evidence-based policing strategies. Local mayors, supervisors and executives would be required to lead at least three public meetings to gather community feedback. State and federal funding to police agencies could be withheld if a police department doesn’t submit the report on time.

The Jamestown Police Department’s goals and objectives including increasing recruitment of minority police officers, receiving state accreditation, create community relations programs, develop mentoring programs between youth and police officers, explore relationships with local non-profits and businesses to increase collaboration with the department, find additional funding for JPD programs, work with the county, local governments and non-profits to explore new responses for mental health calls, provide better mental and physical health resources for police officers, ensure officers are trained about the impacts of implicit bias, establish a citizen’s police academy and increase transparency and communication throughout the JPD.

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