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Public Comment Period Open On City’s Police Reform Plan

Jamestown police P-J file photo

City officials are open to taking into account all public comments on the city’s draft New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative plan.

On Wednesday, city officials announced that the draft plan was available for public review on the city’s website — jamestownny.gov. The public comment period is open until 5 p.m. Friday, March 12. Comments may be made via email to reform@jamestownny.gov.

City officials stated in a news release that a public presentation of the document for the Jamestown City Council and public will be held via Zoom at 6 p.m. Monday, March 22, which will be broadcast on the city’s website, social media and Youtube pages. The plan will then be submitted to the council for a vote at its March 29 voting session meeting.

The draft plan has information on the police department, crime statistics, a summary of feedback received by the community through the stakeholder meetings the task force held over the past few months and goals and objectives for the Jamestown Police Department to reach in the short, medium and long term.

City officials stated the plan is a draft and public comment will be factored into the final document that needs to be submitted to the state by the end of March.

In January, city officials held a series of stakeholder meetings to gain input from several sources. According to Vickye James, Ward 3 councilwoman, the meetings hosted by the council’s Public Safety Committee were very informative.

“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.

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

“(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 reform plan. The goal of the reform plan 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.

In February, Tamu Graham-Reinhardt, At-Large councilwoman, said the input from the stakeholder meetings was included in the draft plan.

“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.”

The mission statement for the Jamestown Police Department is to ensure peace, safety and a sense of well-being to the culturally diverse community. The goals of a high quality of life, crime prevention and racial harmony are shared with community members. The mission shall be accomplished through the preservation of peace, building community partnerships, the safeguarding of all individuals’ personal liberties and the prevention and resolution of crime. The Jamestown Police Department is committed to this mission and each member is individually sworn to conduct themselves in a manner of excellence and professionalism in the service and dedication to the Jamestown community

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