Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs takes next step on police reform plan

Saratoga-Springs-Police-Cop-Car_0.jpg
PHOTOGRAPHER:

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mayor Meg Kelly has named three former members of the city’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Task Force to serve as a new panel on implementing the task force’s recommendations, including figuring out the best way to establish a civilian police review board to hear complaints about possible police misconduct.

The members of the Independent Advisory Committee on Implementation are Charles “Chuck” Caputo, Kimberly Galvin, and Jason Golub, all of whom were members of the 13-member task force that spent much of 2020 and early 2021 developing a set of 50 recommendations. Golub was co-chair of the task force.

“The work of this advisory committee is the next step,” Kelly said at the June 1 City Council meeting.

She said the members will research and analyze how a citizen review board will be implemented in Saratoga Springs and provide findings to the City Council for a decision later this year. The committee would also advise the public safety commissioner and police chief on implementing task force recommendations.

The members:

  • Caputo is a management consultant and retired human resources professional who worked for non-profit organizations. He is on the board of Saratoga Pride in addition to having served on the task force;
  • Galvin is a city native and an attorney who over the last 30 years had held a variety of legal roles in county and state government, and is currently counsel to the state Board of Elections;
  • Golub, an attorney, is director of inclusion and diversity at Walker & Dunlop, a nationwide financer of commercial real estate. He was previously a global compliance counsel to General Electric’s power division.

The City Council adopted its police reform and reinvention plan on March 31, just hours ahead of the state deadline to submit a plan under Executive Order 203, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued last June.

Cuomo’s order was issued in response to Black Lives Matter protests over police-involved deaths of unarmed Black civilians across the country in the wake of unarmed Black man George Floyd’s murder by a police officer in Minneapolis.

A Capital Region group, All of Us, held several protests in Saratoga Springs last summer, including a protest last July 30 that resulted in the use of pepper balls and arrests after protesters refused orders to stop blocking streets. Some critics characterized those tactics as “militarized,” and the task force recommended increased de-escalation training, among other things.

The central point of contention was the recommendation for a civilian review board — a recommendation the council accepted “in principle” while noting the creation of a review board will raise issues that need to be addressed. City Attorney Vincent DeLeonardis has said it may require amending the city charter, while police unions have indicated their opposition.

The citizen-led task force concluded the Police Department needs to revise its use-of-force policy to minimize harm, adopt policies tailored to deal specifically with mental health calls, diversify the department’s personnel, and modify internal disciplinary review procedures. Those recommendations were accepted by the City Council.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

Leave a Reply