Chairman of New York State Black Law Enforcement Organizations – The Grand Council Of Guardians – Charles Billups calls out Westchester County government in a strongly worded statement for purposely passing over a Black Female Warden for the Deputy Commissioner Position after the departure of 1st Deputy Louis Molina. By now most may have heard the Westchester County Department of Corrections 1st Deputy Commissioner Louis Molina has left the WCDOC. He is now the new Las Vegas Public Safety Chief, according LasVegasNevada.com.
“To be clear, we celebrate the advancement and historical appointments of all genres and ethic backgrounds,” Chairman Billups wrote in his statement. “But don’t celebrate diversity, magic tricks and political illusions to the voters, that at the end of the day, mean nothing for the advancement of sex, race, color, police or criminal justice reform. No matter what we do as Black People and Black Law Enforcement to try to work within the political structure to make things better, it’s the same political circus, just different clowns.”
Mr. Molina most recently served as the first deputy commissioner for the Westchester County Department of Corrections (WCDOC). He will start in his new position in Las Vegas, Jan. 11, 2021. Having worked in policing, a district attorney’s office and corrections, Molina has operationalized sustainable criminal justice reform practices, leading to major improvement of operations, investment in staff and enhancement of public safety. He has also built strong partnerships with faith-based and community leaders, and nonprofit organizations working with the justice-involved population.
The departure of Westchester County Department of Correction (WCDOC) 1st Deputy Louis Molina has caused quite a stir. While many we spoke with were excited for Mr. Molina’s new positions as Las Vegas Public Safety Chief, many were disappointed about the loss of a great person of color in a leadership position. Not only was he one of the highest ranking Latinos in Law Enforcement in the county he was an incredible person of conscious who brought in a lot of programs to the WCDOC.
Despite a statement from the County Executive George Latimer on the diversifying law enforcement, announcing the appointment of Ms. Nory Padilla as the new WCDOC 1st Deputy Commissioner, a group of stakeholders who have been advocating for Black and Brown persons in commissioner positions feel they have been lied to.
A group of community stakeholders whose interest in police accountability, racial equity in commissioner positions, especially in law enforcement departments have met with CE Latimer monthly. Organizations represented at these meetings included The White Plains/ Greenburgh chapter of the NAACP, the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, Blacks In Law Enforcement of America (BLEA), The Westchester Corrections Associations (WCA), the Anti-Racism Alliance, the Westchester Coalition For Police Reform, the Grand Council of Guardians and other community stakeholders.
The organizations collectively issued a statement concerning the resignation of Mr. Molina, December 21, 2020.
“Westchester County black population is 14.4 %, and Hispanic 22. 2 %. Historically, Westchester County has had only one city with a black or a brown Commissioner in its 49 Law Enforcement departments, including County Police. Unfortunately, this has been by political design in Westchester County. Generations of Black and Brown officers have never seen or experienced law enforcement leadership from their ethnic background at the top Commissioners positions.”
CE Latimer released a statement the next day, stating, “Our Administration has provided greater diversity in the leadership of the County Correction Department than ever before in County history. Our commitment continues into the future.”
While the Latimer Administration may have provided diversity in the WCDOC, the aforementioned organizations have been fighting for more Black and Brown people in top leadership positions, Commissioner positions. Several have informed Black Westchester that promises were made that Molina would become Commissioner after a year and feel the county has not kept their word, which led to the departure of Molina.
This led to the current statement by Grand Council of Guardians Chairman Charles Billups who says he has had discussions with Westchester County Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins and attended several meetings at the CE’s office. In his statement Mr. Billups states despite these discussions with the DCE and meetings at the CE’s office to discuss the importance of Black Leadership at the top of the departments, to his dismay there still is no change.
“After the total disrespect of former 1st Deputy Commissioner of Corrections Louis Molina, only to be pandered to by Westchester County when they appointed a Latina woman, a civilian with no Law Enforcement or Correction Officers experience. This appointment is a slap in the face to all Correction Officers in the state of New York.”
Mr. Billups went on to express his disappointment in Westchester County Government by saying;
“To further add to the insult, the Westchester County Government hires another Deputy Commissioner from outside the department to pander to the Black Community. Another thoughtless political decision that has disrespected the Black Female Warden, who came up the ranks and is well qualified for the Deputy Commissioner’s position.”
Black Westchester has received several calls and emails from others who feel the same. Westchester County currently has one Black Commissioner in Law Enforcement in the entire county and that is Mount Vernon’s Public Safety Commissioner Glen Scott. There is a lack of Black and Brown people in leadership positions in the county of Westchester. Many feel there can be no true criminal justice reform or racial equality in Law Enforcement until we have representation in top leadership positions. Many have expressed to Black Westchester after the national movement following the killing of George Floyd, this is no longer acceptable.
Charles Billups is the latest and one of the most influential individuals in law enforcement to express their disapproval. Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story.