UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) — Last summer Governor Cuomo released an executive order asking all local governments to create a police reform plan with strategies on improving police and building back community trust. Utica’s police reform draft was created by a 17 member committee with residents from all different backgrounds.
“When you put together a committee, part of what you try to do is get people to represent all of the relevant parts of your city,” said Marques Phillips, Utica Codes Commissioner.
After several meetings, the committee came up with 12 reform suggestions. Some include a crisis intervention team, a civilian public safety board with an audit and increasing transparency for civilian complaints. Mayor Robert Palmieri says having such a diverse group helped them to understand one another.
“When we met in person it was a very enlightening conversation. It was educating the committee on what exactly the Utica Police Department does and it was very imperative that we listen to the community and what the concerns are that are affecting the lack of trust,” Palmieri said.
“We have lively discussions about police topics that we hear nationally. To their credit even during the lively discussions both us and them, we make compromises because ultimately everyone had to understand we still have a job to do,” said Utica Police Cheif Mark Williams.
In the coming weeks, the committee will attend three meetings hosted by local organizations to get more feedback on the report. The complete draft can be found online at the city’s website.