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City Council Discusses Police Reform Public Meetings

A series of stakeholder meetings with city residents to gain their perspective on potential police department reforms have concluded.

On Monday during the Jamestown City Council work session meeting, Vickye James, Ward 3 councilwoman, said the meetings hosted by the Public Safety Committee were very good with great information provided by the public.

“We are in a good place as far as the executive order from the governor,” she said.

On June 12, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring each local government in the state to adopt a New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative plan by April 1. The order authorizes the director of the state Division of the Budget to condition state aid to localities based on the adoption of such a plan.

Tamu Graham-Reinhardt, At-Large councilwoman, said now that the series of stakeholder meetings has concluded, a report will be created containing the comments made by city residents. She said the report will be created during the next 30 days.

“It wasn’t just law enforcement conversations,” she said.

“There were several other conversations during the stakeholder meetings that might warrant larger conversations, things we should be talking about at the city level.”

Marie Carrubba, Ward 4 councilwoman, said she was really impressed with the people who participated and how willing they were to share “some really personal information.”

Brent Sheldon, Ward 1 councilman and Public Safety Committee chairman, thanked the community residents who participated in the stakeholder meetings.

“(City residents) stepped up to be a part of the conversation,” he said.

The online meetings were held so city residents could chime in on the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative initiative. The goal of the initiative is to increase communication between lawn enforcement and the community that requires citizen engagement in the process of recommending potential police reforms within the city.

Last week, Sheldon told The Post-Journal that six stakeholder meetings were held last month before several meetings with any city resident who wanted to participate were held last week. The meetings can be viewed by visiting the city’s website at www.jamestownny.gov. He said the stakeholder meetings included discussions with nonprofit organizations; with members of the African-American community; local religious leaders; health care and mental health professionals; and school officials.

After the stakeholder meetings report is created with the comments from the public, Sheldon said police department and city officials will create a reform plan, with a public meeting to be held in the future to gather input on the proposed plan. Once the reform plan is finalized, the council will need to approve it, which is scheduled to happen in February. Sheldon said the final plan needs to be submitted to the state by the end of March.

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