The Board of Legislators has officially adopted the report of the County’s Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force in a unanimous vote on Monday March 22nd, after weeks of review by the Board’s Public Safety Committee.
The adoption of the report establishes a blueprint for police reform intended to promote more equitable policing in Westchester.
The 177-page report contains 51 recommendations for the County’s police, correction and other public safety operations including:
- implicit bias and intercultural competency training for law enforcement personnel
- a formal review of the County Department of Public Safety’s use of social media for branding and community outreach
- creation of community liaisons
- increased multi-lingual communications
- training in implicit bias and restorative justice for School Resource Officers
- joint de-escalation training with the Department of Correction
- increased Police Academy training in procedural justice, cultural diversity and bias-related crimes
- creation of a County Office of Police Accountability
In 11 meetings, including a session for public input, over more than a month, the Public Safety Committee took a deep dive into the report’s recommendations and the process by which those recommendations were arrived at. The committee heard from Task Force members, including co-chairs Mayo Bartlett and Leroy Fraser as well as the County’s Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement representatives.
The report itself was the culmination of nearly seven months of work by a 38-member Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of thirty-eight members, which include County and local law enforcement professionals, clergy representatives, criminal justice and police reform advocates, human rights professionals, the Executive Director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau, the Executive Director of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, representatives from the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, three Westchester County Legislators, and other public servants. The Westchester County Executive additionally attached six staff liaisons to the Task Force in order to ensure that the group had access to all available resources and assistance.
Under Executive Order 203 from Governor Cuomo, all municipalities statewide must adopt a police reform and reimagining plan by the State by April 1. County Executive George Latimer had previously announced plans for a County police reform task force, which he then expanded to address the requirements of the Governor’s order.
Read the Westchester County Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force report below…
In response to the national outcry for police reform after the killing of George Floyd, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed an Executive Order — the ‘New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative’ — Friday, June 12, 2020, requiring local police agencies, including the Westchester County, to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs in their community based on community input. Each police agency’s reform plan must address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including, but not limited to use of force.
Police forces must adopt a plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding and certify that they have:
- Engaged stakeholders in a public and open process on policing strategies and tools;
- Presented a plan, by chief executive and head of the local police force, to the public for comment;
- After consideration of any comments, presented such plan to the local legislative body (council or legislature as appropriate) which has approved such plan (by either local law or resolution); and
- If such local government does not certify the plan, the police force may not be eligible to receive future state funding.
On Feb. 9, 2021, the Westchester County Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force transmitted their initial findings to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for public comment, review, and additional work. The members of the Police Task Force are: Mayo Bartlett (Co-Chair), Leroy Frazer (Co-Chair), Jack Alemany, Horace Anderson, Gail Baxter, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., David Clarke, Hon. Terry Clements, Rev. Frank Coleman, Richard Conway, Rev. Doris Dalton, Rev. Troy DeCohen, Andre Early, Shondra Floyd McClary, Thomas Gleason, Chad Golanec, Michael Hagan, Dr. Damia Harris-Madden, Barbara Hart, Paul Hood, Damon K. Jones, S. Ken Jones, Esq., Lila Kirton, Anahaita Kotval, Tom Luzio, Martin McDonald, Chris McNerney, Hon. Damon Maher, Lawrence Otis Graham, Chief Melvin Padilla, Karine Patino, Rev. Dr. Stephen Pogue, Terrance Raynor, Tejash Sanchala, Robyn Schlesinger, Hon. Colin Smith, Robert Tucker and Rev. Dr. Verlin Williams.