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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: October 17, 2021

Police Chief endorses proposal to expand responsibilities of Civilian Police Advisory Board

Civilian Police Advisory Board will be given added responsibilities to review allegations of police misconduct -- a recommendation endorsed by Greenburgh Committee Against Systemic Racism

Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney spoke with me earlier today to renew his support for legislation to expand the authority of the Greenburgh Police Community Advisory Commission. If the Chief's recommendations are approved by the Town Board the Commission, now 30 years old, would be given added responsibilities to  review allegations of police misconduct.   I'm very pleased to support this recommendation for added oversight.

The  Chief expressed his support for this change over a year ago when he interviewed for the position of Police Chief with the Town Board. The concept has the support of the Greenburgh Committee Against Systemic Racism (GASR). The Chief believes that current misconduct investigations be directed to the committee and will be recommending to the Town Board that we implement the Civilian Police Board concept quickly.

I believe that all the members of the Town Board will be supportive of the proposal to have a Civilian Review Board --a concept that is being implemented in communities around the nation. We want residents to have confidence in our police department and to recognize that all allegations against officers will be investigated and that appropriate follow up action will be taken after an independent investigation takes place.

Among benefits of Police Civilian Boards: Complainants are given a place to voice concerns outside of the law enforcement agency. Oversight can help hold the police department accountable for officer's actions. The oversight can help improve the equality of the department's internal investigations of alleged misconduct.  The community at large can be reassured that discipline is being imposed when appropriate while increasing the transparency of the disciplinary process.   When the oversight agency confirms a complainants allegations the complainant feels validated.  Similarly when the oversight agency exonerates the officer the officer feels vindicated.  Oversight agencies can help improve community relations by fostering communications between the police  and community.  Oversight also reduces public concerns about high profile incidents.  Oversight also increases public's understanding of law enforcement policies and procedures. These oversight committees also can reduce the chances  of costly litigation by identifying problems and proposing corrective measures.   By establishing an oversight system public officials are provided the opportunity to demonstrate their desire for increased police accountability and the need to eliminate misconduct.   The above is from the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.

PAUL FEINER
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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