Cairo police reform plan approved, submitted to NYS
Andrea Macko is reporting for Porcupine Soup the town of Cairo’s Policing Reform Plan was adopted earlier this month by the town board. The plan was developed pursuant to a June state executive order requiring all municipalities with a police agency to conduct a review of police policies and procedures and to develop an improvement plan in an effort to address the needs of the community. “Cairo is unique,” said Sgt. Rick Busch, officer-in-charge of the department. “Cairo is busy enough that the State Police, Sheriff’s Office and us all cover calls within the town.” Not that Cairo is a hub for crime, he said. Those calls could be anything from a car-deer accident or someone locked out of their car, to something more serious like an assault, Busch said. During an average month, the town police department has anywhere from 800 to 1,000 interactions with the public. Busch served as one of nine members of the Policing Reform Plan Committee. Others included Town Supervisor John Coyne, town board member Steve Kralovich, Assistant Greene County District Attorney Jeff Lowe, the Rev. Victor Nelson, attorney Monica Kenny-Keff, Ann Marie Rabin an attorney with the Greene County Public Defender’s Office, and community members Phil Heath and Mohammed Minhajuddin. The committee met six times, and more than 40 topics were reviewed, ranging from recruitment of officers to racial profiling and transparency. Committee members were also given a copy of the Cairo Police Department Use of Force Policy. The final plan was submitted to the state on March 3, and it included the adoption of a stand-alone policy banning the chokehold, mandatory annual de-escalation training, mandatory annual anti-bias training and the review of a civilian complaint policy. The Cairo Police Department operates from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. The town employs two full-time and nine part-time officers. The patrol area is roughly 60 square miles, which is inhabited by 6,600 residents. Busch noted the coverage area encompasses the entire town of Cairo, including Acra, Purling, Round Top and South Cairo. Some mailing addresses in Earlton and Freehold are included, as well. The department files 1,000 to 2,000 official police incident reports each year. Read the full story in Porcupine Soup.