Rotterdam

Rotterdam police reform plan released; Two opportunities to comment scheduled

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

Rotterdam residents will have two different opportunities to comment on the police department’s reform plan, which includes the recommendations of implementing body cameras and appointing a community engagement officer.

The collaborative charged with creating the plan will hold a meeting on March 22, although a time and place have not been determined as its members try to determine how it can hold the meeting in person, said Supervisor Steven Tommasone during a town meeting Wednesday.

Town Attorney Kate McGuirl said those details should hopefully be worked out Thursday.

Residents will also be able to speak during a public hearing at the town’s March 24 meeting. The town will also vote to adopt the plan that day.

The plan was created in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring police departments to review their policies and procedures to determine how to better serve their communities after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last year. The executive order stipulates that departments must submit a plan to the state by April 1 or risk the possibility of losing state and federal funding.

Other recommendations included:

  • Additional training on implicit bias and de-escalation
  • Continuing to increase knowledge about best practices for mental health calls and implementing those standards, including participating in the Schenectady County Emotionally Disturbed Persons Diversion
  • Having community outreach officers attend job fairs and post about department exams to promote diversity in the department

The department will also keep track of racial disparities and post yearly arrest and traffic-stop data to the police department’s website following some comments from committee members that more research needed to be done on policing of minorities.

The report states that black offenders make up 25.4% of all arrests by the department.

Deputy Chief Michael Brown was in attendance at the meeting. However, before the agenda session began around 6:45 p.m. Tommasone told Brown that he wasn’t expecting him to make any comments on the plan at the meeting.

“I don’t necessarily want you engaging with the public at this time because we’re going to have a public hearing on this,” Tommasone said.

Tommasone said there will also be a special town meeting on April 1 to adopt a local law regarding recommendations in the police reform plan.

Submit a comment to [email protected]

Attend the public hearing:

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. March 22

WHERE: a zoom link is listed on the town’s website at

https://www.rotterdamny.org/calendar.aspx

Categories: News, Schenectady County

One Comment

As a registered nurse in the icu, I have first-hand experience with the mental health community. Many of them make an active decision to stop taking meds and subsequently become delusional and violent to protect themselves. In their world, there is a threat and the result is fight or flight. Communication is not going to be effective with someone in a delusional state. Im happy to see that requesting a social worker present has faded out because this will result in them being hurt, just like nurses are frequently injured, including me. Police have a responsibility to deescalte but this is not always feasible and blaming them for a persons active decision to stop taking meds is unfair and encourages societies lack of personal accountability. Something shpuld be done to prevent these situations and blaming the police is not the awnser.

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