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Greene officials hear feedback on police reform plan

Mar 12, 2021 12:45 pm

Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Greene County lawmakers heard public comment Wed., Mar. 10, on the county's police reform plan and recommendations during a special meeting of the Public Safety Committee. The plan was released last week and offers 25 recommendations, including upgrading the Sheriff's Department’s record management system, implementing body cameras and establishing a Community Advocate Committee to review complaints. Tannersville resident Stephen Nash Webber listed several recommendations he said should have been included, such as requiring officers to distribute cards with their names, badge numbers and where to direct complaints during every interaction. “We have seen issues with this committee’s ability to gather feedback,” he said. “There no better way of getting good data and feedback from the community on police interactions than that.” Jewett resident Elide Bell also expressed concerns about the feedback gathered and the lack of transparency around the process. Greene County Legislature Chair Patrick Linger said the committee encountered “a lot" of people who did not want to go on the record. "The committee did what they needed to do [to get feedback],” he said. The Rev. Richard Turpin, a member of the Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, said the pandemic also made it harder to get input. On the subject of diversifying the department, Cairo resident and attorney Monica Kenny-Keff opined, “You can’t grab people off the street and force them to apply.” While increased recruiting and outreach efforts were among the recommendations, there are limitations, Kenny-Keff said. Several speakers emphasized what was missing from the report and the ongoing nature of the reform process. Collaborative member Rabbi Zoe B. Zak agreed there is always room for improvement. “There’s always more,” she said. “There’s always more room to lean, always more space to grow, always deeper connections to be made and always greater support to give."...I don’t think we could have addressed everything.” The full Legislature will vote on the plan March 17. A recording of the full public hearing can be accessed on the WGXC Newsroom page. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.