Gov. Cuomo signs series of police reforms, signs executive order on changes to police departments

Local News

ONEIDA COUNTY, NY (WUTR-TV) — On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring police departments in the state to come up with a plan to reinvent their police strategies and programs by using community input. Police forces must adopt a plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding and certify that they have:

  1. Engaged stakeholders in a public and open process on policing strategies and tools;
  2. Presented a plan, by chief executive and head of the local police force, to the public for comment;
  3. After consideration of any comments, presented such plan to the local legislative body (council or legislature as appropriate) which has approved such plan (by either local law or resolution); and
  4. If such local government does not certify the plan, the police force may not be eligible to receive future state funding.

“Our law enforcement officers are essential to ensuring public safety — they literally put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us. This emergency regulation will help rebuild that confidence and restore trust between police and the communities they serve by requiring localities to develop a new plan for policing in the community based on fact-finding and meaningful community input,” Governor Cuomo said.

Other legislation was signed into law, but is local law enforcement on the same page as the state? On Thursday, June 11th, 2020, a detailed letter was sent to the governor’s office from the New York State Sheriff’s Sheriffs Association. Sheriffs from across the state advised that there needs to be more leadership coming from the Governor’s office.

“We’re asking him to please work with us, we want to be part of the solution to the issues that face communities around this country and many times he’s [Gov. Cuomo] making sure out to be part of the problem and like I said we’re not,” says Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. Maciol is in agreement with some of the laws that have been passed — like banning chokeholds. “We’ve never ever utilized a chokehold. I’ve been in law enforcement for 31 years and I’ve never been trained that nor anyone has been trained that, I mean its forbidden in our policy, I can’t speak for every agency in this country but any agency that I am aware of, that’s a technique that’s banned,” says Sheriff Maciol.

Maciol says it takes a long time to gain the public’s trust, but only takes only seconds to break it. He says the job is not easy but it ultimately comes down to building a relationship with local law enforcement and its community.

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