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The original item was published from 3/31/2021 8:05:22 PM to 4/11/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: March 31, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Greenburgh Town Board unanimously accepts report of Committee Against Systemic Racism

Town Board adopts recommendations

RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE REPORT OF THE GREENBURGH AGAINST SYSTEMIC RACISM LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE AND ADOPTING RECOMMENDATIONS PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 203 ISSUED BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

 

WHEREAS, all municipalities in the State of New York were charged by the Governor of the state by Executive Order number 203 to perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, and develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color: and

 

WHEREAS, the Town of Greenburgh appointed the Greenburgh Against Systemic Racism Task Force, a panel of community stakeholders of the Town of Greenburgh, including members of the Town Board the Chief of Police Department, a representative of the Westchester District Attorney and a member of the local Public Defender’s Office; and

 

WHEREAS, the GASR Task Force spent 8 months interviewing Greenburgh community residents through public forums and on-line surveys, researching policing best practices, studying the Greenburgh Police Department through policy review and interviews with the Police Chief and several key officers, summarizing their findings and synthesizing recommendations to improve the function of the department as it pertains to improving interactions with the Greenburgh community, and

 

WHEREAS, as required by the Executive Order 203, said report was submitted to the community and discussed at a Public Discussion held on March 10, 2021 and after consideration of such comments and those submitted in writing,

 

NOW, we the Town Board, do hereby accept the GASR Task Force Law Enforcement Committee Report and adopt the following recommendations:

 

* Denotes subject to funding approval

** Denotes currently done by GPD to varying extents

 

 

RECRUITMENT

  • Draft a policy directive reflecting goals on diversity recruitment.
  • Create a recruitment team which includes community members, educators and police officers to devise and implement a recruitment strategy which will identify the obstacles to diverse hiring and create and implement strategies on how to generate more recruits. 
  • Invest in youth outreach to create a youth talent pipeline by enhancing the existing efforts of the Greenburgh Cadet Program, exploring the creation of a local police athletic league and conducting focus groups with teens and young adults to foster interest in a career in law enforcement and to build positive relationships with our youth. Create and work with feeder programs at local high schools and colleges that have a pre-law enforcement curriculum. Encourage local colleges to offer tuition reductions for people who become local police officers. *, **
  • Create feeder programs for adults, such as auxiliary police officers, peace officers or civilian employees of the police department. *, **
  • Provide financial support for formal recruitment activities. *
  • Improve the advertisement of the civil service testing dates and application process to members of the local community via posting on the town website, on social media and at local schools.

HIRING

  • Use validated standardized assessment tools, if available, to identify candidates with the desired interpersonal skills in an unbiased manner.
  • Explore offering newly hired officers financial incentives to live in Greenburgh, such as affordable work force rental housing units, access to reduced college tuition or property tax credits. * 
  • Lobby the state and county government to achieve the following objectives:
    1. Revise civil service hiring guidelines to allow the hiring agency to consider attributes other than test scores in determining eligibility for hiring and promotions. 
    2. Convene a state commission to review all aspects of officer exams, including the written test, fitness, agility and psychological exams to make sure they do not, by effect, unduly exclude people who have the qualities of a good police officer. 
    3. Reduce the time interval between the civil service test and the publication of the candidate list.
    4. Raise the minimum hiring age to 22 years to ensure that the candidates have sufficient maturity to be an effective officer.
    5. Require a minimum of 2 years of college credits in order to be eligible for hire. 
    6. Require all police departments to permanently maintain records of all civilian complaints in an officer’s personnel file, indicating the outcome of the investigation into said complaints and to make those records available to any police agency that is considering hiring that individual.
  • Petition the state to amend the civil service law to make it easier to terminate police officers. For specified misconduct (as established by the change in law) municipalities would be able to terminate an officer and said officer would be entitled to sue for job reinstatement. (Current due process requires an officer to be retained in their position until the outcome of proposed discipline is finalized.)
  • Petition DCJS to allow for Police Officer De-Certification for specified misconduct (as established by the change in law).  Due process right to appeal would attach. 

      

 

TRAINING *

  • The Greenburgh Police Department should review and revise its training curriculum to increase training on the following topics and de-emphasize use of force/control by authority:
  • De-escalation of force and aggression in all encounters that do not require them. Officers should be trained about the harmful effects of over policing on the public and the long-term effects on both officers and the public when force is used. *, **
  • Cultural sensitivity, community interactions and identifying and working with people with disabilities, including mental crises. *, **
  • Inter-Cultural competency *
  • Systemic Racism *, **
  • Procedural Justice: Training on procedural justice should be embedded in every day police work and is particularly important in traffic stops. **
  • Mental Health Training: A better understanding of the array of mental health conditions that exist in the public, how people might perceive and react to stimuli in different ways, how to de-escalate a tense situation or better understand a person in distress, how to respond to a report of suicidal ideations, and how and when to reach out for non-law enforcement resources on the scene. *, **
  • Peer Support: Officers need a platform through which they can talk to each other and to experts about the effects of police work on their own mental health. Regular mental health screenings by a mental health professional, not solely after a highly stressful occurrence, is suggested. *, **
  • Officer-Civilian Interactions: Use Bodycam footage to critique and provide training on best practices. **
  • Post-Discipline Training: A mandatory refresher training should be administered to an officer after an event requiring discipline. **
  • GPD should offer or expand training for the public or join in discussions with the public on the following topics:
    • STOPS (Safe Training on Police Stops) **
    • Restorative justice-type training with small groups of community and police officers to share how each side wants to be treated and how each side feels they are treated, including discussion of the rights of the civilian and the safety concerns of the police officer. *
  • Lobby the Westchester County Police Academy and DCJS to adjust training curriculum to establish the mindset of the police officer as a guardian of the people. Training should be interactive, stressing the importance of using courtesy and respect when engaging with the public and include diversity role-playing scenarios. The curriculum and training tools should be assessed for the presence of implicit bias and changed to eliminate such bias. **
  • Encourage the County to improve training in cultural competency and identification of mental health issues for 911 dispatchers. 

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

 

  • Undertake a digital transformation initiative to more effectively support the community and department’s mission and explore the creation of a Citizens Technology Advisory Board. *
  • Review, update and publish policies online. *,**
  • Allocate resources and conduct further study on the efficacy of establishing a Civilian Review Board for Police Misconduct. *
  • Revamp the Police Community Advisory Commission with a Civilian Police Review Board with authority to review and provide input into issues concerning police operations and general management. 
  • Explore an internal “Professional Standards Review” and the creation of an umbrella Professional Standards Bureau that includes internal affairs. *, **
  • Develop and engage in a routine and highly introspective program of regular self-monitoring and self-review which integrates data driven information that is shared with the community. *
  • Implement or continue a “Fitness for Duty” Program. *, **

 

OVERSIGHT

  • Creation and commitment to a formal Peer Intervention Program. *
  • Provide Intercultural Competency and Anti-Racism training. *, **
  • Explore Humanity Recognition Assignments that encourage positive community/police officer interaction. *
  • Publish an annual report on the Town Website of all police related complaints received and their outcomes.
  • Engage in a public education campaign educating the public about the New Yorker’s Right to Monitor Act”.
  • Modernize the process for submitting civilian complaints to make full use of available technology. **
  • Codify whistleblower protection for officers filing internal complaints about police misconduct. 

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

 

  • Create a streamlined process to enable the public’s feedback of their experiences with the GPD:
    • Create a public roster listing all GPD patrol officers.
    • Explore the use of business cards with QR codes that directly link to a webpage to provide community feedback.
      • Designate all GPD officers to be responsible for actively promoting positive police-community relationships. **
  • Expand GPD sponsored community events including exploring implementation of a Police Athletic League. *
  • Work with local schools to integrate common police engagement best practices. **
  • Collaborate with local learning institutions to teach curriculum related to the legal system and law enforcement. 
  • Continue summer police camps to connect with young people in the community. *, **
  • Explore partnering with local municipalities to implement a Mental Health Crisis Response Team. *
  • Create professional scripts for introduction and engagement with every community encounter for which officers are accountable.
  • Investigate implementation of “smart holsters” to accompany use of body cams. As required by DCJS, every instance of weapon unholstering must be documented with a report justifying the action taken by the officer. *
  • Prohibit restraint in the prone position or any other position that presents a significant risk of asphyxia when a person is handcuffed.  Subjects handcuffed and restrained should be immediately to a seated or standing position to avoid impediment of normal breathing in keeping with current policy. **

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