Poughkeepsie Police Reform Plan Gets Feedback

By Madison Langweil

POUGHKEEPSIE – Notions to implement inclusiveness and feedback for the City of Poughkeepsie regarding Police Reform in Executive Order No. 203 issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo remained on Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

The virtual meeting was a Collaborative Public Meeting open to commentary from community members in hopes to achieve a more well rounded plan. Youthful participants spoke and made suggestions as did older participants. Committee members took note and said they will consider areas of improvement.

The issue regarding behavioral health in relationship to the plan was commonly addressed by members like Katie Castell, a Social Worker for 26 years. She was interested in hearing more information about the relationship between behavioral health and the police force. She and other speakers hoped to gain more clarity on this topic.

Community member, Jeffery Snyder, wanted to commend past works while offering suggestions.

“Like many who have spoken tonight, I see some positive aspects of the proposed city plan, but also hope to offer some constructive criticism before it gets submitted to the Common Council,” he said.

Snyder specifically addressed the Police Department that he said, “has not implemented or embraced other procedurally just principles that are just as important for increasing transparency and legitimacy.” He continued to note that “Principle 20 calls for accessing and rewarding police officers who increase trust and confidence in the community while Principle 22 calls for making a department’s performance metrics transparent to the public. Neither of these topics is outlined in the department’s policy manual.”

Matt Carol, a Community Member, quickly mentioned his desire to know more about the Civilian Review Board to make it more diverse by including more civilians and less police officials. “I hope you do a Civilian review board,” Carol emphasized.

Another community member, Eli King, Member of the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, piggybacked on Carols thoughts.

King powerfully said, “We need systemic change,” which was frequently expressed by previous public speakers.

The City of Poughkeepsie speakers clearly expressed their concerns for faults they found in certain areas. The evening commentators shared the need to establish more accountability, trust, and strength for the future.

Host of the meeting, John Penney announced public feedback will be accepted until 5:00pm on Tuesday, February 16th to allow time to finalize a draft for the Common Council consideration.