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Rochester Mayor Warren Previews Exec Order 203 Proposals Regarding Policing



Mayor Lovely Warren and members of the Executive Order 203 Working Group will unveil their draft response to reform and reinvent policing in Rochester at 7 p.m., tonight, Thursday, Feb. 4 via
Zoom and the City’s YouTube channel.

“Our community is committed to reimaging and improving policing,” said Mayor Warren. “There’s certainly more work to be done. However, we have made real change before and I know we can do so again.”

The recommendations to be released tonight follow in a path of past successes including: Police Section Office Reorganization (2014); Body Worn Camera Implementation (2016); Red Light Camera Removal (2016); Creation of the Police Accountability Board (2019); and Proposing Newly-Hired RPD Officers Reside in the City (2020).

The proposals span 10 different areas for improvement and include:

Accountability: Petition the State of New York to amend the Taylor Law and the Triborough Agreement to allow the City to terminate RPD personnel immediately for cause and enable the City to develop a completely new collective bargaining agreement.

Community Engagement and Programming: Advocate for more resources and financial support for programs such as mental health programs; youth and recreation programs; job development; Pathways to Peace; conflict resolution programs; Rise Up Rochester; ROC the Peace; United Christian Leadership Ministry (UCLM) Light the Way; Save Our Youth; Squash the Beef; and other evidence-based programs that include oversight, evaluation, transparency and training so that programs that are effective can be expanded and improved.

Data, Technology and Transparency: Expand the RPD Open Data Portal and Data Sharing with information on police-citizen interaction types, demographics (i.e. age, gender, race) of people involved, type of response and whether force was used, along with all other data that will allow Rochesterians to better understand the nature of police response.

Fostering a Community-Oriented Culture: Fund policies and practices that begin to inoculate the RPD from systemic oppression. These practices should include: educating officers using immersive training methods that teach how systemic racism and other forms of structural oppression, as opposed to mere “bias” or “prejudice,” can influence policing practices; reinforcing this training throughout officers’ careers; testing officers on their knowledge and providing assistance as necessary; and, creating and enforcing disciplinary rules that combat
racism, misogyny and homophobia.

Officer Wellness: Consider appointing a Chief Resiliency Officer, similar to the program started by New Jersey Attorney General Grewal. The Chief Resiliency Officer is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement. This statewide program aims to help officers “to become better equipped to handle the daily stress of police work that, when left unchecked, may lead to physical ailments, depression and burnout.”

Police Policy, Strategies, and Practices: Develop a policy limiting the use of spit socks or hoods and outlining strict guidelines for appropriate and safe use of spit socks if and when they are used.

RPD Recruitment: Overhaul the Civil Service hiring system. The City of Rochester is requesting a complete overhaul of the N.Y. State Civil Service hiring and promotion system. It is evident, and research shows that this practice has been, and continues to be, biased toward communities of
color. The City believes that the deciding factor of whether someone would be a good officer or manager should not be based on how well someone scores on a written Civil Service exam. The state should immediately convene a Civil Service Commission to review and change the process for governmental hiring and promotions.

Resizing the RPD: Aim to reduce RPD personnel within the next 5-10 years so it can reallocate these resources to other programs.

Response to Mental Health Calls: Support passage of Daniel’s Law and increase funding for first responder systems that appropriately replace police with social workers, mental health providers and other non-police personnel.

Training: Advocate for a change in N.Y. State law to require the State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to mandate explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, cultural competency and procedural justice training in the Basic Course for their Police Officer certification program. Mandate that this training be continued through required routine in-service courses. Advocate for
funding for this additional mandated training.