Town of Hunter Police Reform & Reinvention Committee
submitted to Town Board, March 18, 2021
The Town of Hunter Police Reform & Reinvention Committee first and foremost acknowledges that systemic racism and racial bias exist in our nation and policing. Based on our limited investigation and survey, we did not find evidence of extensive explicit or implicit bias within the Town of Hunter Police Department in its interactions with our community and its visitors. Nevertheless, we believe that specific policies and procedures should be implemented to address and prevent bias and racism. Towards that end, this committee submits the following recommendations to The Hunter Town Board for its consideration and adoption.
By way of Governor Cuomo’s executive order #203, “in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota,” The Town of Hunter Police Reform & Reinvention Committee puts forward the following recommendations to be adopted by the Town Board in a Resolution:
- Dedicate the resources necessary to complete a comprehensive Town of Hunter Police Policies & Procedures Manual by December 31, 2021. The manual needs to include a specific code of conduct and accountability policies with respect to social media, background/hiring policies, and civil rights. The following policies have already been adopted by the Hunter Police Department and will be explicitly codified in the said manual:
- Use of physical force
- Use of firearms and deadly physical force
- Procedure following any firearm discharge, whether accidentally or in performance of duty
- Death in custody reporting
- Ban on chokeholds or any similar restraints
- Entitlement to medical or mental health treatment for individuals under arrest or in custody
- Establish training requirements, including evidence of completion, for all members of the police force to include but not limited to the following:
- Racial/Implicit Bias and Gender Bias training
- Use of Force training
- Mental health situational training
- Establish a civilian comment system for interactions with the Town of Hunter Police that offers a simple and easy way to communicate any issues with individuals or the department in general. The system must also allow for anonymous/confidential complaints as well. The comment system should include transparency and should apply appropriate actions of accountability.
- Continue the trend and increase efforts to treat addiction as a health issue rather than a crime, deploying diversion therapy as an alternative to incarceration as soon as possible in the Town of Hunter Police interaction with individuals.
- Proactively integrate, systematize, and integrate cooperation with mental health professionals, including MCAT, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, as an alternative to arrest/incarceration.
- Commit to no less than two town halls annually, with a focus on police and community relations. Ensure meetings meet “public notice” qualifications and are distributed widely.
- The New York State Police & NYS DEC officers and forest rangers provide a significant amount of law enforcement in the Town of Hunter. We urge the Town Board to request that ALL State Police agencies undergo the same “Reform and Reinvent” analysis that county and local police agencies have undertaken.