Municipalities holding public forums on police reforms

Orange County. Towns and villages with police departments are recruiting residents as part of the process.

05 Jan 2021 | 07:24

    The deadline for submitting police reform plans to the state is April 1. Before that there will be a public hearing and a vote by each municipal board to adopt its plan. Following is where some efforts stand.

    Town of Warwick

    The town has been examining police procedures since 2019. An updated bias policy was completed in November. https://www.townofwarwick.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Lexipol-Bias-Based-Policing-401.pdf. A revised use of force policy is pending approval by the Town Board. https://www.townofwarwick.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Lexipol-Use-of-Force.pdf

    Government officials on the town’s police reform panel are Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Police Chief Thomas McGovern, Police Lt. John Rader, Senior District Attorney Stuart Rosenwasser, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, and Village of Warwick Trustee George McManus who also serves as village liaison to the police department.

    Also serving are Kathy Brieger of the Warwick Area Migrant Committee; Rev. Brandon Collins of Grace Community Church; David Leach, Warwick Valley superintendent of schools; Ronald Martinez, who has organized several protests against nationwide police-involved shootings nationwide; Angel Maysonet, a former New York City police officer; James Mezzetti, president, Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce; Shawnee Moore, a former member of the NYPD’s, Internal Affairs Bureau; Lew Perry, a former NYPD officer; Rev. Ann Marie Bentsi-Addison Posey, pastor, Union AME Church; and, George Schick, commissioner, Warwick Fire Department.

    Town of Chester

    The town currently is reaching out to residents to gauge their interest in serving on an advisory committee. It expects to hold two of three public meetings late this month or early in February.

    “Most of the feedback we get is positive,” said Chief Daniel Doellinger. “The plan probably will contain things we would have done anyway.”

    Village of Florida

    The village has appointed an advisory committee and held its first meeting The village board was to seek comment on Jan. 6. Members of the committee are Deputy Mayor Thomas Fuller; Emily Oladipo; Michael Daiz, a New York City police officer, Roopram Ragnanan and Florida Police Officer Chris Cockburn.

    Town of Goshen

    Residents and businesses may share their views on police department by filling out a survey available at http://www.townofgoshen.org/PDF/SurveyLawEnforcement.pdf

    The town’s advisory committee consists of Robert Confliti of the District Attorney’s Office; PBA president Stanley Lupinski; Rev. David Kingsley, retired pastor of Goshen’s First Presbyterian Church; Kathy Brieger of the Warwick Area Migrant Committee; Brian Gallo, a Hambletonian Park resident; Louis Clemente of Arcadia Hills; Town Supervisor Douglas Bloomfield; Councilman Philip Canterino; Town Attorney Douglas Golden; Chris Ashman, retired head of the county Mental Health Department; and Shannon Wong, director of the Hudson Valley Region of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

    Village of Goshen

    The village is reviewing its policies with an emphasis on the use of force and the investigation of hate crimes. Meanwhile, Mayor Mike Nuzzolese said residents will have “multiple opportunities to comment, both orally and in writing, so that the Village Board may have a better understanding of the police reform issues that are most important to the public.”

    Written input can be sent the village board at vogmayor@frontiernet.net. Residents can also have their say during 7 p.m. board meetings on Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22, March 8. Further information on remote participation will be provided if public attendance is not possible due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Village of Harriman

    The village has tentatively scheduled a Feb. 2 in-person meeting for the police department to explain its role and to seek input from the public; an earlier meeting had to be canceled. Mayor Stephen Welle said the department is accredited and follows all state guidelines.

    Village of Monroe

    The village will hold a Zoom forum at 7 p.m. Jan. 27. It is recruiting residents to serve on citizens advisory committee and is preparing a survey for release a week or so before the meeting. Those who are not able to attend or wish to submit their question in advance can send an email to Village Clerk Ann-Margret Baxter at clerk@villageofmonroe.org. A link to a PowerPoint presentation on police activities and procedures is available at http://www.monroepd.org/Police-Reform


    Town of Tuxedo

    A first virtual meeting, accessible through the town’s WebEx, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 14 to recruit interested residents to participate in the review process. So far, Supervisor Kenneth English has commitments from seven people, including Police Chief Arthur Abbott, Deputy Supervisor Michele Lindsay, a council member, a social worker and a civil rights attorney. He also expects to include leaders of the Ambulance Corps and Fire Department.

    Village of Tuxedo Park

    The committee reviewing police practices consists of Police Chief David Conklin; Mayor David McFadden; Trustee Chris Kasker; Serena Mueller, Associate Head Tuxedo Park School; Rev. Rick Robyn, St. Mary’s-in-Tuxedo Church, and Joshua Scherer from the Tuxedo Club. Information about the police department has been distributed to the members, who will meet in the near future.

    Orange County Sheriff

    The county committee has held one virtual meeting and will meet again at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 and Jan. 28. It has prepared a survey for residents to rate their experiences with the agency. All meetings are being archived. Information is available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/2014/Police-Reform

    - Jeff Storey