Common Council Ratifies its Police Reform Plan

By Madison Langweil

POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Common Council met over Zoom on Monday, March 29, to approve the draft of the Police Reform and Modernization Plan ordered by the New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The plan had received a multitude of comments and suggestions voiced by the public to improve the draft. Sarah Salem, Chair of the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council, implied the draft as not definite. “This is a plan that will be adjusted, tweaked and added to as the times change.” Salem refers to the plan as an, “ongoing process” because of the growth and time that goes into its development. As this plan won’t be made perfect overnight, the help from members of the public and of the Common Council will propel the plan to where it needs to be.

“It’s amazing how a community like this can come to a consensus on such short notice,” Salem said. “It doesn’t end here tonight.”

Salem addressed the significance the community has made in improving the community in all areas reflecting the Police Reform and Modernization Plan and considered implementing a Civilian Review Board, advocate strategies to increase diversity in the police force and fair promotion in the force as highly requested by the community.

“This plan here is just a start and I hope we continue to work together to change not only the mindset of some of the police forces, but the mindsets of the communities, because it’s really about us working together,” said Natasha Cherry, Council Member.

This “ongoing process” is to “promote community engagement, to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color,” Salem said.

Later in the evening, Yvonne Flowers, Council Member, highlighted the retirement of various officers who could actually serve as vital people for being potential members of the Civilian Review Board and provide their ideas and share their experience. She describes the retiring offers as “seasoned” and who “have a wealth of knowledge as in the ups and lows of the community as in the good and bad.”

“After offering drafted plan for public comment and review to all citizens in the municipality, and after consideration of such comments, the plan shall be presented to the local legislative body in such political subdivision, which shall ratify or adopt such plan by local law or resolution, as appropriate, no later than April 1, 2021,” Salem said.

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