“Reinventing Law Enforcement” Initiative Underway in New York

By Kathy Kahn

Police Departments across New York State are working to comply with an Executive Order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo in June, 2020:  The New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

Letters went out to 500 jurisdictions with police departments across the state explaining the reasoning for the formation of the Collaboratives. “We have to address the tensions and lack of trust between our communities and the law enforcement that serves them…it is imperative that we address this urgent crisis,” wrote Cuomo. “I understand it’s complicated, it’s difficult…but people are dying. Local elected officials must work together with their community and police forces to develop and implement reforms for a safer, fairer policing standard.”

Orangetown held its first Collaborative meeting on Tuesday evening, October 21. County Legislator John McGowan attended the meeting with Town police officials who are working on forming new policing policies for the community.  “It was a productive meeting, the first of many we will be having to discuss what reforms may be necessary here,” said McGowan.

The order was Albany’s response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 while he was in police custody. Floyd’s death sparked protests and riots across the country. In New York City, rioters set fires and looted Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and other areas of the five boroughs.  Here in Rockland, demonstrations against police brutality and “racial profiling” were largely peaceful and without incident.

The Order tasks law enforcement to review the needs of its individual communities and evaluate current policies and practice. Police departments are also tasked with developing policy recommendations that include public input in the process. When policy recommendations are finalized, the municipal leaders must ratify or adopt them and certify the adoption of its plan with the NYS Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021. Those police agencies which do not comply with the Governor’s Executive Order will face a loss in funding.