City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison today announced that the city’s Procedural Justice Committee — which includes police officers, other city officials and members of the public – will be reviewing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order pertaining to policing and enhanced training and policies and will make recommendations for the Mayor and Common Council to consider and act upon.
In mid-June, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 203 — the “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative” — requiring local police agencies to develop a plan and address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including but not limited to the use of force.
Governments with police agencies must adopt a plan by April 1, 2021, to be eligible for future state funding.
“Fortunately,” Mayor Rolison said, “I know the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department is considerably ahead on these reform efforts and with input from others, will continue to enact measures that are in the public’s best interest.”
Last year, the City established the Procedural Justice Committee to address community concerns related to police issues. The Police Department also has completed procedural justice training, which focuses on the way police interact with the public. The training, in part, 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 tend to make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups.
“The Department has put considerable time and effort into these training initiatives,” said Chief Police Tom Pape. The chief added that as other police departments in the Hudson Valley address the governor’s executive order, the Poughkeepsie Police Department will lend instructors to the county effort to get Dutchess County police officers trained in procedural justice and implicit bias.
The City also has made a significant investment in body cameras for police officers, allocating $510,120 to purchase the cameras and supportive equipment, such as docking stations. The cameras are providing more transparency about how officers operate in the field — and about the situations to which they respond, Chief Pape said.
The Police Department also 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. The forms are available here.
“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.”