Police/FireThe White Plains Examiner

Draft Report on White Plains Police Reform Released

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The White Plains Police Reform Committee has released its draft report for public comment following a six-month review.

The 22-member committee, which included White Plains Police Chief Joseph Castelli and was chaired by NAACP White Plains/Greenburgh Branch Chairperson Janice Griffith, was formed in September 2020 after Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order to all municipalities served by police.

The group of local leaders and residents was given the task of reviewing the needs of the White Plains community, evaluating the Police Department’s current policies and practices, and developing policy recommendations for the city’s Common Council to consider.

“It has been a great experience working with such a diverse group of community members,” Griffith said. “The dedication and commitment that was put into this work is commendable. I look forward to sharing with the community the results of our combined efforts.”

“I would like to thank the committee and its chair, Janice Griffith, for volunteering their time over the past six months on this important initiative,” said White Plains Mayor Tom Roach. “This committee of engaged community stakeholders has worked hard to come up with their recommendations.”

The report, which the public can comment on until Saturday, March 6 through email at: policereform@whiteplainsny.gov, contains more than 40 recommendations on such topics as training and equipment, community engagement, transparency and accountability, qualifications, recruitment and retention, and policies and procedures.

“The mandate for this committee was to look at ways to put sustainable mechanisms in place to build trust and reduce further harms to our communities,” Griffith stated in a letter in the report. “It is the goal of this committee to have the mayor, Common Council, and Police Department understand the need for them to be adopted and implemented, as well as the need for ongoing follow-up.”

One of the suggestions of the committee is to implement a Civilian Complaint Review Board which would be tasked with reviewing the internal investigative findings related to personnel complaints. Making improvements to the current personnel complaint process was also recommended.

In the area of transparency, the committee recommended data be published on the Police Department’s website relating to types of arrests, whether the arrest is police or civilian initiated, car stops and whether those stops result in summonses or warnings, and break down the data demographically.

In addition, the committee advocated for the creation of a statewide database/registry that tracks police misconduct and disciplinary records.

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