Executive Order 203, which was sent to “ALL” of the communities throughout New York State, made specific stipulations which needed to be implemented by those communities’ police departments. I am sharing with you some of the specifics that are a part of the city of Newburgh’s submission. “The City Of Newburgh is fully committed to implementing NYS Executive Order 203, and in doing so reforming and reinventing its Police Department. As you will see in the pages to follow, a tremendous amount of collaboration went into compiling this report and the same amount of dedication will be applied to implementing the recommendations of this plan and continuing to work with the community and the wide array of stakeholders involved in the process.
In order to understand the issues that exist between the community and the police, it is important to note some background and historical information on the subject. As such, an honest and open history of policing in the city has been included.
The city of Newburgh Police Department has existed since the late 1800’s. As with most police departments of that time, officers were often ill-trained, if trained at all. It was not until the mid-1900’s that police officers were mandated to attend formalized police training.
With specific regard to the last seventy-five year history of the city of Newburgh many who are alive today can recall times of scandal. In the early 1970’s several members of the Police Department were arrested and incarcerated for crimes ranging from on-duty burglaries, receiving graft from various criminals, including houses of ill repute, gambling activities and other nefarious actions. Stories of police corruption resonate to this day.
Some officers, while not all, were believed to enforce the law arbitrarily, engage in discriminatory practices, routine use of excessive force and oftentimes not adhere themselves to the very laws they were sworn to enforce. The officers who chose to not to participate remained complicit, and did nothing to address the activities of their co-workers. It was during those times that the department, consisting of mostly white males, policed the minority neighborhoods much different than other areas of the city where the white population resided.
These facts served to entrench and fortify a serious mistrust of the police by the minority population, especially the Afro-American citizens, and much of this mistrust exists to this day despite strong efforts to improve police community relations.
There is a disconnect between the City of Newburgh Police Department and a segment of the community. More positive interactions undoubtedly need to take place moving forward. This should be in the form of ongoing public forums, whereby opinions, experience and discussions can take place between the police and the community in order to gain better mutual understanding.
Any effort towards bringing about positive change must include an ongoing sincere and committed dialogue between elected officials, the police and the entire community. In order to truly accomplish any attempt to remedy the issues as they exist today our history has to be acknowledged, for both the good and the bad, and reconciliation must take place before we can move forward in a positive direction.
The above, which you have read, is part of what the city of Newburgh’s Police Department and city government will be sending to Albany by April 1st in order for them to be in compliance with the New York State’s Executive Order 203 process which is a starting point as it pertains to Police Departments and “MINORITY” communities throughout New York State.
Hopefully, the above and the rest which will be sent to Albany will bring about a “GENUINE” new beginning for us in the city of Newburgh as it pertains to “POLICE RELATIONS” towards “OUR” community.
This is “Lillie’s Point of View” and I’m just having my say and now you can have yours!