Resolution to Create The Police Reform and Reinvention
Collaborative Committee and Program Pursuant to Executive Order 203
WHEREAS, beginning on May 25, 2020, following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota, protests have taken place daily throughout the nation and in communities across New York State in response to police-involved deaths and racially-biased law enforcement to demand change, action, and accountability; and
WHEREAS, there is a long and painful history in New York State of discrimination and mistreatment of black and African-American citizens dating back to the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America; and
WHEREAS, this recent history includes a number of incidents involving the police that have resulted in the deaths of unarmed civilians, predominantly black and African-American men, that have undermined the public’s confidence and trust in our system of law enforcement and criminal justice, and such condition is ongoing and urgently needs to be rectified; and
WHEREAS, these deaths in New York State include those of Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo, Ousmane Zango, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Patrick Dorismond, Akai Gurley, and Eric Garner, amongst others, and, in other states, include Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Antwon Rose Jr., Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, amongst others,
WHEREAS, these needless deaths have led the Governor of the State of New York to sign into law the Say Their Name Agenda which reforms aspects of policing in New York State; and
WHEREAS, it has been determined that government has a responsibility to ensure that all of its citizens are treated equally, fairly, and justly before the law; and
WHEREAS, recent outpouring of protests and demonstrations, which have been manifested in every area of the state, have illustrated the depth and breadth of public interest in ending institutional racism and injustice; and
WHEREAS, one of the essential roles of government is to maintain public safety, which requires mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve; and the success and safety of our society depends on positive police-community relationships and policies that allow police to do their jobs to protect every member of the public; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has determined that urgent and immediate action is needed to eliminate racial inequities in policing, to modify and modernize policing strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, and to develop practices to better address the particular needs of communities of color to promote public safety, improve community engagement, and foster trust; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has enacted Executive Order 203 entitled the “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative”; and
WHEREAS, Executive Order 203 states that in coordination with the resources of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Division of the Budget, local governments may “increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by ensuring that the local police agencies within the state have been actively engaged with stakeholders in the local community and have locally-approved plans for the strategies, policies and procedures of local police agencies; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Executive Order 203 each local government entity, including the Town, which has a police agency operating with police officers as defined under 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, must adopt a policing reform plan after performing a collaborative review of the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color and promote trust, fairness, and legitimacy; and
WHEREAS, on or about August 17, 2020, the Office of Budget released a Guidance Document in order to assist municipalities in the development of the Program (the “Guidance Document”); and
WHEREAS, the Supervisor of the Town is required to convene the head of the local police agency, and stakeholders in the community to develop such plan; and
WHEREAS, the Town, in coordination with its police agency, must consult with stakeholders, including stakeholders identified in the Guidance Document as required or recommended, and create a Police Reinvention and Collaborative Program (the “Program”) to adopt and implement the recommendations resulting from its review and consultation, including any changes to its policing deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, tailored to the specific needs of the community and general promotion of improved police agency and community relationships based on trust, fairness, accountability, and transparency, and which seek to reduce any racial disparities in policing;
WHEREAS, recommendations included in the Program may consider evidence-based policing strategies described in the Guidance Document, and shall consider transparency, accountability, training, community engagement, qualifications and recruitment, and policies and procedures.
WHEREAS, such Program must be offered for public comment to all citizens in the locality, and after consideration of such comments, shall be presented to the local legislative body in such political subdivision, which shall ratify or adopt such plan by local law or resolution, as appropriate, no later than April 1, 2021; and
WHEREAS, the Town is then required to transmit a certification to the Director of the Division of the Budget to affirm that the Program has been developed and the required local law or resolution has been adopted approving the Program; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT HEREBY RESOVLED the Town Board of the Town of Bedford hereby adopts the foregoing Resolution to establish the Program; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the purpose of the Program shall be as follows:
- To review the needs of the community served by its police agency,
- evaluate the relevant policies and practices of the department,
- identify standards and strategies that foster trust, fairness, transparency, accountability, and legitimacy,
- confirm or establish policies that allow police to effectively and safely perform their duties;
- Involve stakeholders and community members in listening sessions and elicit input from the public
- Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review;
- Offer a plan for public comment;
- Present the plan to the local legislative body to ratify or adopt it, and;
- Certify adoption of the plan to the State Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a Police Reform and Reinvention Collaboration Committee (the “Committee”) will be formed to develop the Program and accomplish the goals set forth in Executive Order 203 and the Guidance Document. This task shall be delegated to the Town Board to select the members of the Committee.
- The Committee shall have up to eighteen (18) members, in addition to the Chair(s).
- The stakeholders who must be involved in the membership of this Committee shall include the following:
- Membership and leadership of the local police force;
- Members of the community, with emphasis on areas with high numbers of police and community interactions;
- Interested non-profit and faith-based community groups;
- The local public defender; and
- Local elected officials.
Beyond this group, the Town Board should ensure that participants bring a broad range of the perspectives, experiences, knowledge and values from the community. Specifically, the Town Board will also consider engaging as stakeholders or as members of the Committee:
- Residents who have had interactions with the police;
- Residents who have been incarcerated;
- Any local police unions;
- Local education officials and educators;
- Local neighborhood, homeless, and housing advocates;
- LGBTQIA+ leaders and advocates;
- The Local Health Department and healthcare leaders and advocates;
- Mental health professionals;
- Business leaders;
- Transportation and transit officials; and
- Legal and academic experts
- Appointment to the Committee will follow an application process.
- Inaugural members of the Committee will continue to serve as members of the Committee until the Program is developed and implemented and the goals of Executive Order 203 and the Guidance are accomplished.
- The Committee should endeavor to set the initial meeting to occur on or before September 30, 2020. Thereafter, meetings are to be scheduled as called by the Chair of the Committee on a regular basis in order to develop the Program and accomplish the goals of Executive Order 203 and the Guidance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that following the creation of the Committee, the committee shall follow a timeline that includes the four (4) phases outlined in the Guidance Document for developing the Program and accomplishing the goals of Executive Order 203 and the Guidance. A recommended timeline is attached as Appendix “A”.
Recommended Timeline Police Reform and Reinvention Committee and Program
Phase 1: Planning (September-October 2020)
Create a work plan, including list of issues to address, and identify staff to manage the information gathering and plan development.
Identify stakeholders and local leaders who can work to facilitate conversations with key constituencies in the community.
Assess current policing practices and procedures by gathering information on current operations including but not limited to data, policies and procedures, complaint history, budget, contracts, training, and equipment. Make this information available to the public.
Phase 2: Listening and Learning (November-December 2020)
Form subcommittees to examine specific areas including (1) accountability and transparency; (2) community engagement; (3) training (4) qualifications and recruitment; (5) policies and procedures.
Conduct listening sessions with the public. Organize sessions thematically or focus separately on individual stakeholders.
Consult experts or resources referenced in the Guidance to help consider difficult issues more fully.
Request comments on draft plans from the public both before adoption and early in the development of the Program. Elicit input form people unable to or uncomfortable with joining public meetings and consider asking for written comments or suggestions.
Phase 3: Draft a Plan (January 2021)
Identify areas of focus or change after getting feedback and evaluating the role of the police in the community and the current state of the Town of Bedford Police Department.
In the areas identified as needing reform, identify short -term and long-term measurable goals.
Draft a reform and reinvention plan. The Committee may choose to solicit suggested language from stakeholders to help facilitate drafting and to see different stakeholders’ positions in writing. The Committee shall consider articulating not just policy changes but a vision for what these changes will accomplish. Include how to measure success of this plan going forward.
Keep the public engaged in the process.
Phase 4: Public Comment and Ratification (February 2021-March 2021)
Executive Order No. 203 requires that the draft plan be posted for public comment. The Committee shall consider diversifying the ways the public can share feedback, in writing and at events – either in person or virtually.
When releasing the draft plan, educate the public and consider how the Committee and other key stakeholders involved in the development will explain the proposals to the public. Consider holding events, engaging the media, or publishing an op-ed in the local newspaper.
Revise the plan to incorporate public comment: The Committee should ensure the public comment is addressed in a meaningful way in the final plan and how the Committee will address those comments which are not adopted and those that highlight areas of tension and disagreement among members of the community or between community members and the police.
Finalize the plan after public comment and submit to the Town Board to adopt or ratify before the April 1, 2021 deadline.
File certification with the New York State Division of the Budget by April 1, 2021, that the Town has met the requirements of Executive Order No. 203
After April 1, 2021
After the plan is adopted, the Town shall implement the plan and communicate progress reports and metrics to the public. The Committee will continue to monitor and respond to community concerns related to the police until the Town Board determines that the goals of the plan have been accomplished.
STATE OF NEW YORK ü
COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER ý SS.
TOWN OF BEDFORD þ
I hereby certify that I have compared the foregoing Resolution with the original on file in my office and that the same is a correct transcript therefrom and the whole of the said original Resolution, which was duly adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bedford on October 6, 2020.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Corporate Seal of said Town of Bedford.
Dated: October 7, 2020 ___________________________________________
Town Clerk, Town of Bedford