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DeWitt's Response/Plan to Comply with NYS EO 203
Notices and Alerts
8/10/2020

Authorize Police Commission to Comply with NYS Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Executive Order 203

 

Motion made by Councilor Young, Seconded by Councilor Rigney.

WHEREAS, on June 12th, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 203, creating the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order 203 requires all local governments with a police agency to perform a comprehensive review of current police operations, including police policies and practices, for the purpose of addressing and assessing community needs, promoting community engagement, fostering trust and fairness between our police and community, and addressing any racial bias which may exist; and

WHEREAS, the Town of DeWitt maintains a Police Department consisting of 44 sworn officers plus civilian employees, ably led by Police Chief Chase Bilodeau and Captain Chris Fuller, along with a complement of lieutenants and sergeants; and

WHEREAS, we are justifiably proud of the DeWitt Police Department, and its record of national accreditation, strong community relations, service, community policing, and modern and progressive policies and practices; and

WHEREAS, for many years the DeWitt Town Council has maintained a diverse citizen police commission consisting of elected Town Councilors, former federal and state judges, members of the clergy; prosecuting and defense attorneys, and civilians representing a broad cross-section of the community, in order to better guide and provide direct oversight, increased scrutiny, transparency, advance recommendations, and provide greater accountability and transparency to the public; and

WHEREAS, we know that we cannot be satisfied with our history of success in community law enforcement, and, to avoid complacency and replicating any past mistakes, we must constantly strive to assess our strengths and weaknesses, and to improve accountability and trust between our police department and the community it serves; and

WHEREAS, as public servants and representatives of the Town of DeWitt, the DeWitt Town Council has an obligation and responsibility to protect both the public safety of the town and the civil rights, civil liberties, and dignity of all of its residents and visitors;

NOW, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the DeWitt Town Council hereby commits to undertaking a nine month process of review and assessment of its police department and police operations, which will include engaging with community stakeholders, holding public forums in the Town to obtain input from community members and others; reviewing our current policies and practices, and assessing the extent to which they adequately meet the current needs of the Town, the Police Department, and the community we serve; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Town Council hereby appoints the Police Commission to conduct the review and assessment of the DeWitt Police Department, to collect and consider public comments and input, and to consider, among other things, current use of force policies and records of use of force and deadly force, de-escalation and crisis intervention training, the process for review of citizen complaints, implicit bias awareness, development and implementation of a body-worn camera policy, community-based outreach and policing, diversity recruitment, hiring and retention; assessing and reducing any racial disparities in policing; and the overall promotion of improved police-community relationships, based on trust, fairness, accountability and transparency; and be it further

RESOLVED, that after considering the aforementioned elements, the Police Commission should develop a recommended plan, including any proposed modifications, innovations and modernizations to our police practices, policies and procedures, which will be tailored to the specific needs of our community; and it is further

RESOLVED, that the recommended plan shall be made available for public input and comment by DeWitt residents, after which it will be submitted back to the Town Council for its consideration and adoption no later than April 1, 2021.

Passed this 13th day of July, 2020, by a vote of 7 Ayes.

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