City of Poughkeepsie Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Plan
In June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 203, the “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative,” which requires local police agencies to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs based on community input.
Each police agency’s reform plan will address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including, but not limited to use of force. Under the governor’s executive order, governments with police agencies must adopt a plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding.
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has forwarded the governor’s order to the city’s Procedural Justice Committee as part of our collaborative response. Last year, the city formed the Procedural Justice Committee — which includes police officers, other city officials and members of the public – to address community concerns related to police issues. The committee will make recommendations for the Mayor and Common Council to consider and act upon.
Several years ago, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department chose to pursue procedural justice and other training to enhance relationships with the community, build trust and improve dialogue and understanding. The Police Department has completed procedural justice training, which focuses on the way police interact with the public. The training emphasizes that treating people with dignity and respect and giving citizens a voice during encounters promotes community trust. City police also have undertaken implicit bias training, which addresses the automatic association people now make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups. The need for both procedural justice and implicit bias training for officers were among the recommendations in the President Barack Obama Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
The city also has made a significant investment in body cameras for police officers and has enhanced its complaint process by improving accessibility and by developing a new easy-to-use online reporting tool. Forms can be used to file civilian complaints and for commendations for the actions of officers. Submitted forms will be reviewed by a member of the command staff and assigned to the appropriate supervisor for action.
“We welcome the Governor’s executive order, recognizing that a collaborative approach is necessary to ensure there is trust between the police and the communities they serve,” said Mayor Rolison. “Our police officers have shown they are up to the task.”