The Town of Warwick has added several recommendations to a state-mandated plan for “reinvention” of its police department. Several will use citizen volunteers.
The plan was adopted by the Town Board on March 25, in time to meet the state’s April 1 deadline.
Supervisor Michael Sweeton said that the town looked forward to implementing all the recommendations.
“The final draft incorporates good suggestions from the final public comment session held on March 9,” he said.
He added that a diverse advisory committee “contributed much to the discussion of policing here in Warwick and comments received either by email or letters had some good thoughts that no doubt will help us continue to improve our department which I believe does an outstanding job protecting our community and serving our residents with fairness as well as equal justice for all.”
Among the new suggestions is a pledge “to continue to encourage People of Color to pursue careers in law enforcement.”
The town will work with citizens to lobby New York State to change a “slow” Civil Service system that hampers such recruitment.
In addition, the town will form a volunteer committee to research and propose to the Town Board ways to attract more candidates.
Volunteers also will work to obtain more resources for the county Mental Health Department and to improve protocols. The need or more assistance and training from the agency for police has been a recurring theme in reform discussions.
Finally, several Spanish interpreters have volunteered to help Spanish speakers interact with the police. The town also has hired a dispatcher who is fluent in Spanish.
The plan can be reached at https://www.townofwarwick.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/EO-203-Collaborative-Plan-revised-03162021.pdf
- Jeff Storey