Police Reform Report: Meaningful Actions But No Budget Cuts

On June 12, 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 203 requiring each local government to “adopt a policing reform plan that will maintain public safety while building mutual trust and respect between police and the communities they serve.” Every locality was required to adopt a plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding. To comply, Orangetown formed the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

The Reinvention Collaborative is composed of elected officials representing Rockland County, Orangetown, Nyack, Orangetown Police Department, Orangetown Town Attorney’s Office, a member from NAACP Nyack Branch, Orangetown Police Benevolent Association, Rockland County Public Defender’s Office, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. The collaborative met six times between November 2020 and March 2021. Virtual meetings on December 15, 2020 and February 15, 2021 solicited input from Orangetown residents.

Highlights of Orangetown’s report include:
1. Any act by a police officer resulting in a death of a person must be reported to New York’s newly established Office of Special Investigations.
2. The “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act” makes it a crime to use a chokehold that causes serious physical injury or death to another person.
3. New York residents not under arrest or in the custody of a law enforcement official are allowed to record police activity and to maintain custody of that material.
4. Officers are now expected to intervene if they observe an- other officer using what they believe to be excessive force.
5. Arrest photos will no longer be published as part of police press releases unless necessary for public safety.

According to the Orangetown Police Department some of these reforms are already in place, and officer training will be updated to comply with anything new. Submission of the report will ensure future state funding for Orangetown, but will not lessen the $25 million policing price tag for a town of less than 50,000. To see the full report go to orangetown.com/ final-orangetown-police-reform-and-reinvention- collaborative-plan