The Village of Florida has released a draft police reform plan aimed, in part, at bringing officers closer to the community in response to a state mandate for “reinvention” of all local police departments.
Communities that don’t complete such reform plans by April 1 could lose state aid. In addition, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-22 budget proposal provides for the appointment of monitors by the state Attorney General, at localities’ expense, to ensure that the reviews are conducted and “community voices are heard.”
Florida’s plan notes that the Hispanic population of the village has been increasing.
It is now about 21 percent. The police department pledges to “make an effort” to hire a bilingual officer to interact with non-English speakers. None of the current officers is bilingual.
The department also hopes to increase the frequency of walking patrols in the Main Street business district “where practical.” The department is small and may have only one or two officers on duty in the station at any one time.
Among other recommendations, the department would add four hours of annual training each in the areas of community relations, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity and anti-racism, de-escalation and mental health.
The village would contract Lexipro to review all police policies, procedures and best practices. The department would review all uses of force and civilian complaints and incorporate its findings in an annual report.
The plan calls for the purchase of body worn cameras but only “within budgetary constraints.” Other departments have found that data storage can be expensive.
A link to the report has been published on the police department section of the village’s website and on its Facebook page. An advisory committee to the reinvention effort will meet for the final time at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Comments on the report can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jeff Storey