POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison and Police Chief Tom Pape have released their plan in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order on police reforms. The report has been forwarded to the Common Council.
In June 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 203 — the “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative” — requiring local police agencies to develop a plan to address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including but not limited to the use of force. Governments with police agencies must adopt a plan by April 1 to be eligible for future state funding.
Mayor Rolison first asked the city’s Procedural Justice Committee to review the governor’s order, to gain public input and to make recommendations for the Mayor and Common Council to consider and act upon. The Committee, which includes police officers, other city officials and members of the public, made its recommendations in December. The city released its preliminary plan on Feb. 2 and held another public meeting on Feb. 10 for people to provide further comments.
“This has been a solid and thorough process,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “The Procedural Justice Committee did an exceptional job providing us with recommendations that we have incorporated into our report. The public feedback since then also has been helpful as we crafted our response to the governor.”
In October, the city created a webpage to keep the public informed of the progress, to provide pertinent information about the governor’s executive order, and to offer ways for the public to give more input.
The city has included the plan from the Mayor and Police Chief on a webpage devoted to the police collaborative issue, and for ease of public use has created a separate document that highlights the changes from the preliminary plan to the one released.
The city has expanded on a number of issues, including accreditation, use of force policies, statistical transparency, warrant service and the Civilian Review Board.
“These were some of the specific issues raised at the last public meeting, and we are doing our level best to address them,” Chief Pape said. “It’s important for the public to realize this is an ongoing process. The Police Department has repeatedly demonstrated it will go forward with initiatives that improve policing, and we will hold to that commitment.”
Mayor Rolison and Chief Pape discussed the plan at the Common Council virtual meeting on Monday, March 1.