Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee (PRRCC)
The Bedford Town Board unanimously adopted the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee (PRRCC) Report at the Town Board meeting on March 16, 2021. Click here for the full report.
National attention, sparked by the death of George Floyd, around the disproportionate killing of unarmed Black people by police led to an outcry by people from all over the country to reexamine policing. The NY Governor issued an order asking every locality to do a review of their police agencies to address potential for discrimination and strengthen the level of trust between the community and the police. The review was to be completed by April 1, 2021.
The review by the PRRCC included (1) listening to the community and diverse stakeholders about their experiences with the Bedford Police Department (BPD), (2) reviewing policies, procedures and practices related to that feedback, (3) examining best practices in community policing, and (4) making recommendations to increase mutual trust and respect between the community and the BPD. Subcommittees, made up of 18 diverse stakeholders including police, reviewed issues around the topics of transparency, accountability, policies and procedures, community engagement, training, and hiring.
The PRRCC found that the police serve the community very well and receive very few complaints. However, the committee agreed that more work can be done to inform the community about who the police are, how they are trained, and all the ways they serve the community. The level of taxpayer support of the police is indicative of how valuable they are to our community but also supports the Committee’s findings that the police should make additional efforts to make it clear to everyone in every demographic that they are here to serve them, keep them safe, be as transparent as they can be, and be open to feedback.
The Town Board adopted the PRRCC Report including the following findings:
- Force is not used excessively or disproportionately by the BPD, and the Department’s Use of Force and De-escalation policies are adequate.
- Accountability channels are clear, and the Chief of Police submits activity reports regularly to the Town Board in its role as the Police Board of Commissioners.
- To ensure accountability, the Town Board will establish that the nature and number of complaints are to be reported on a regular basis to a non-police designee.
- To increase comfort and confidence with the system and to encourage feedback, BPD will provide for anonymous complaints, online complaints, and complaints submitted to a non-police representative.
- To safeguard against escalation, BPD will increase training around bias and training for situations involving persons with mental health issues.
- To strengthen police-community relationships among all demographics and build trust, BPD will expand emphasis on community engagement and revise the BPD mission statement to include language that indicates a focus on community policing.
- To ensure accountability and increase transparency, the BPD with support of the Town Board, to purchase body cameras to be worn by police officers while on duty.
- To increase trust, make the activities of the police more transparent the BPD will publicize facts and figures annually to the public, including race and ethnicity data in arrests, stops, and use of force incidents.
- To increase diversity on the police force, elected leaders and Police Chief will advocate at the state level for reform in the civil service process to allow for more flexibility in hiring.
- To enhance engagement and facilitate transparency, the Town Board will form a Police-Community Group to work with the Police Department to support implementation of these actions and conduct an annual survey to gauge community expectations and satisfaction with community policing efforts.
The community stakeholders and the police made these recommendations because they are good for both the community and the police.
The Town Board will support implementation of the actions adopted in the report and will form a Police-Community group in the coming months.
If you missed the Public Forum on Thursday 2.18
The PRRCC will present their findings from their review of the Bedford Police Department and community feedback and their recommendations for reform to improve community policing. The public is invited to hear the presentation and ask questions.
A final report will be presented to the Bedford Town Board for approval in March.
The purpose of the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention
Collaborative is “to foster trust, fairness and legitimacy” within communities throughout our State and “to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.”
Using community feedback as a launching point, the Bedford Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee will undertake to review policies and procedures of the Bedford Police and make recommendations about how the police can effectively and safely perform their duties to best meet the needs of our community.
After public scrutiny, the recommendations of the committee will be presented to the Town Board in the form of a plan to adopt and submit to New York State by April 1, 2021, as per the Governor’s Executive Order 203.
To achieve this the committee will consist of 4 subcommittees:
- Police Training/Continuing Education; Transparency
- Police Accountability; Policies and Procedures
- Police Community Engagement; Qualifications/Hiring
- Committee stakeholder outreach and report writing
- Town Board Member Ellen Calves
- Police Chief Melvin Padilla
- County Legislator Kitley Covill
- Dale Akinla (BV Fire Dept.)
- Jose Baez (Attorney)
- Wendy Belzberg (conflict resolution specialist)
- Michelle Brier (non-profit organization leader)
- Roger Calderon (Bedford Hills business owner)
- Heather Feldman (Bedford Fire Commissioner)
- Kate Galligan (Town Board liaison to police department)
- John Goodrich (Bedford Community Church)
- Eric Gordon (town attorney)
- Adam Grisanti (PBA President)
- Anthony Mamo (Attorney)
- Kymberly McNair (Antioch Baptist Church, My Sister’s Place)
- Douglas Morton (Antioch Baptist Church)
- Francisco Pedraza (retired businessman)
- Hannah Robbins (Public Defender)
- Alexander Skillman (resident)
- Officer Nancy Wallwork (Bedford Police)
- Officer Ahmad Warren (Bedford Police)
The Town of Bedford Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee held its first public listening session via Zoom on Thursday October 15 at 6pm. Everyone in the community was encouraged to come to express their views.
Community Insight on the Role of Police In Bedford
Click here to view the first listening session, held on October 15, 2020
Updates as to the work of the committee and information about meetings open to the public will be posted here. If you have questions, please contact Town Board Member Ellen Calves at email@example.com.