Dear Chief Executives, Police Chiefs, and Sheriffs:
Many communities all across the country are dealing with issues concerning their police departments. The millions of people who gathered in protest, even in the midst of a public health crisis, made that clear. The situation is unsustainable for all.
Maintaining public safety is imperative; it is one of the essential roles of government. In order to achieve that goal, there must be mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve. The success and safety of our society depends on restoring and strengthening mutual trust. With crime growing in many cities, we must seize this moment of crisis and turn it into an opportunity for transformation.
While the conflict is real and the issues are complicated, we know in New York that denial or avoidance is not a successful strategy. To that end, on June 12, 2020, I signed an Executive Order requiring each local government in the State to adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021. The Order authorizes the Director of the Division of the Budget to condition State aid to localities on the adoption of such a plan.
To ensure these plans are developed through an inclusive process, I called for the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. With more than 500 law enforcement agencies in our large and diverse state, there is no “one size fits all” solution. To rebuild the police-community relationship, each local government must convene stakeholders for a factbased and honest dialogue about the public safety needs of their community. Each community must envision for itself the appropriate role of the police. Policies must be developed to allow the police to do their jobs to protect the public and these policies must meet with the local communities’ acceptance.
“Collaborative” is the key word. It would be a mistake to frame these discussions as an adversarial process or an effort to impose top-down solutions. Issues must be aired but solutions must be crafted. The collaborative process should:
• Review the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices;
• Establish policies that allow police to effectively and safely perform their duties;
• Involve the entire community in the discussion; • Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review;
• Offer a plan for public comment;
• Present the plan to the local legislative body to ratify or adopt it, and;
• Certify adoption of the plan to the State Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021
- Andrew M Cuomo
11/18/2020 - The initial meeting can be viewed here.
12/02/2020 - The second meeting can be viewed here.
12/22/2020 - The third meeting can be viewed here.
01/06/2021 - The fourth meeting can be viewed here
01/20/2021 -The fifth meeting can be viewed here