The Town of Goshen is accepting public comments on a draft report prepared in response to a state mandate for “reinvention” of all local police departments.
Communities that don’t complete such reform plans by April 1 could lose state aid. In addition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-22 budget proposal provides for the appointment of monitors by the Attorney General, at localities’ expense, to ensure that the reviews are conducted “community voices are heard.”
According to the report, “Bridging the divide between police officers and the community they protect and serve is an important part of restoring the public’s trust and confidence in law enforcement. We know this is important to our community.”
With this in mind, the town hopes “to build a positive relationship between police and our citizens” by increasing community outreach, education and engagement.
These efforts include a regular “meet and greet” program and the appointment of a Spanish-speaking officer as a liaison with the Hispanic community.
The department also is updating its general orders, most notably the use of force policy. Revisions to that policy stress, among other things.
“The sanctity of life and striving to minimize physical harm and the reliance on force” and the use of “appropriate de-escalation techniques when practicable.”
The report notes that officers used force only four times in 2018-2020.
A Zoom public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 1, at 7 p.m.
Written comments are being accepted until Friday, March 5. They can be emailed to MRiso@TownofGoshen.org or mailed to the Town of Goshen, attn. Mary Riso at PO Box 217, Goshen, NY 10924.
The report and instructions for participating in the Zoom hearing is are available at http://www.townofgoshen.org/PDF/TOGPoliceRefReinCollPlanDRAFT02192021.pdf
- Jeff Storey