Monday, June 15, 2020

Police Reform in Hudson

In his press briefing this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo made the point that the deadline for communities to reform and re-invent their police forces was April 1, 2021--"290 days and counting"--and advised communities to "start today." Just about the time Cuomo was saying this, Gossips got an email from Mayor Kamal Johnson announcing a press conference today at 4:30 p.m. At that press conference, Johnson announced an executive order "regarding City of Hudson police reforms."

At the press conference, Johnson enumerated the following items contained in the executive order:
  • A 10 percent reduction in the police budget
  • No additional officers will be hired until further notice
  • No surplus military equipment will be acquired by the police
  • No military gear will be used by the police
  • A Police Reconciliation and Advisory Commission will be created
  • Community conversations about policing will happen four times a year
  • Officers are expected to intervene and report use of force by other officers (chokehold and "hog-tie" are already prohibited by HPD policy)
  • No-knock warrants are prohibited when not essential
  • A Hudson Cares Program will be implemented to assist people seeking treatment for substance abuse
  • Data will be collected on use of force incidents, calls involving emotionally disturbed persons, and calls involving drug overdose
Johnson also spoke of building the resources needed to take "mental health engagements" away from the police.

When asked how his executive order corresponded with the governor's executive order mandating that communities work together to re-imagine and redesign their police forces, Johnson said it was the first step in that process. Police commissioner Peter Volkmann spoke about creating a bridge between the community and the police and repeated what he has said before, "Community conversations will lead to community solutions." Regarding the process soon to begin, Chief Ed Moore said, "The public will get a greater opportunity to see what fine young officers we have. Open conversations will allay a lot of their fears and concerns."

Johnson concluded the press conference by saying, "We're going to make things happen here that should happen nationally."

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