There has been a national cry for a Civilian Complaint Review Board. Like everywhere else, with all the incidents of police misconduct and criminality, BW has long written about the very need in Westchester County. So it came to a big surprise to Kenneth Chamberlain Jr, the co-founder of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, when he heard that Robert Kelly, the only Police Commissioner in Westchester who was not only for a CCRB, but one with Subpoena power, was fired 100 days after being appointed. Chamberlain applauded Kelly’s comments at a recent police community relations town hall forum at Greater Centennial Church in Mount Vernon. He also came to a recent mount Vernon City Council Work Session meeting and spoke to the the need of a CCRB in Mount Vernon and the fact that Mount Vernon was engaging in the conversation on being the first municipality to start one.
To Chamberlain and the WCPR, Mount Vernon had the opportunity to set the model for policing in Westchester County an was very encouraged about the talk of a CCRB in Mount Vernon, something he has been very vocal on throughout Westchester and New York City.
One of the objectives of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform is working to build trusting relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. We have held several forums and panel discussions with law enforcement and have discussed everything from legislation calling for independent prosecutors in cases of police misconduct, brutality, and criminality and even civilian complaint review boards. While some of the leadership in Westchester County’s police municipalities feel that there is no need for a CCRB the City of Mount Vernon’s Public Safety Commissioner Robert Kelly was one of the few that not only supported a CCRB but supports one with subpoena power. To find out Mr. Kelly was removed from his position just months after his appointment is disturbing and while we do not know the circumstances behind his removal it is the coalition’s hope that his successor will be willing to work with us just as he was.
Kenneth Chamberlain Junior
Westchester Coalition for Police Reform
Kenneth Chamberlain has been outspoken on police reform and accountability since the unjust killing of his father Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., by the White Plains Police Department in 2012.