Oneonta, NY - In June, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig was looking to create a community advisory board to work with the Oneonta Police Department. About 4 months later, this board is meeting for the first time.
Three days after Mayor Herzig announced his plan for this advisory board, Governor Cuomo signed a mandate that all local governments state-wide must take initiative to create a policy reform plan for their local police department including honest dialogue, collaboration and inclusion.
The mandate also states that a draft plan must come out of this for public comment, the plan will be submitted to the city’s Common Council, and no later than April first it must be confirmed that the council has adopted the plan.
Mayor Herzig doesn’t not anticipate on it taking the board until April to draft this plan.
Herzig’s goals with this board were in line with the Governor's so they didn’t have to make much of a change.
Herzig doesn’t not anticipate on it taking the board until April to draft this plan.
Via video-conference call, Mayor Herzig, police chief Douglas Brenner, chairman of the Advisory Board, Biama Charles and members of SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and the NAACP discussed topics of law enforcement's community engagement, transparency, racial diversity on the police force, collaboration and more.
“We thought that maybe community service involving the Police…people get to see the police officer in a more human light. That would be an avenue where the public can work with police and get to know them in a community-wise way,” said John Adams, member of the NAACP Oneonta Chapter.
Chief Brenner says that the police force is an ever-changing industry and that evolution begins with evaluation.
“Bringing together dedicated professional people like all yourselves, into this evaluation process is going to be very beneficial for the evolution of our department to move forward. And moving forward and improving ourselves is, well, never a bad idea,” said Brenner.
“All of our policies and procedures have been reviewed and approved by state personnel, police personnel, but you know they've never been approved by the people of the community,” said Herzig.
The Board says it will break up into sub-committees to evaluate and focus on certain issues.
They will meet bi-weekly to discuss developments and say they are receptive of feedback from the community.