In his foreword to the workbook, Cuomo outlines this collaborative process:
- Review the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department's current policies and practices;
- Establish policies that allow police to effectively and safely perform their duties;
- Involve the entire community in the discussion;
- Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review;
- Offer a plan for public comment;
- Present the plan to the local legislative body to ratify or adopt it, and;
- Certify adoption of the plan to the State Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021.
Volkmann also reported on Mayor Kamal Johnson's executive order that the police budget be cut by 10 percent. Last night, Volkmann told the committee that 90 percent of the police budget is salaries, so it would be impossible to cut the budget by 10 percent without laying off officers, and the mayor had insisted that budget cuts not involve layoffs. Volkmann indicated that a 5 percent cut was possible this year because, owing to COVID-19, there were no festivals requiring police overtime.
At the beginning of the year, when Volkmann was appointed police commissioner, he was asked by the mayor to do an assessment of the Hudson Police Department. He told the committee last night that his assessment had been completed and delivered to the mayor. In his report, he made twenty-four recommendations, which he shared with the Police Committee last night:
- Have officers work twelve-hour shifts instead of eight-hour shifts
- Implement the Hudson Cares initiative, which involves Community Angels, and create a civilian position for a liaison with the Angels
- Create a spiritual care team led by Rev. Richard Washburn, the police chaplain
- Adopt a more efficient procedure for handling complaints about officers and concerns about officer conduct
- Review the salary of the police chief--Volkmann pointed out that Chief Ed Moore is the lowest paid police chief in the State of New York and the lowest paid officer in the HPD
- Make improvements to the building--Volkmann maintained that the building is "unfinished," saying, "It went over budget so they had to make some cuts."
- Re-evaluate the software used by the police department
- Adopt electronic policies
- Create initiatives for interactions following the "Take Five" concept--Volkmann suggested "Ice Pop with a Cop," where a police officer spends five minutes having a popsicle with a child
- Identify training needs, as recommended by the Police Reconciliation and Advisory Commission
- Inventory the equipment
- Implement crisis intervention training
- Establish an emergency notification system for elected officials
- Create a wellness program for officers, "for mind, body, and spirit"
- Introduce a Comfort Canine program--a "therapy dog for children and festivals"
- Conduct an in-depth analysis of the Parking Bureau
- Provide officers with EpiPens
- Develop a strategic plan for replacing police vehicles
- Equip all police vehicles with cameras that are always on
- Partner with many groups to decrease calls for service and arrests
- Purchase a defibrillator
- Publish all statistics and do a better job with PR
- Partner with Ring to use information from residential security cameras
- Come up with a strategic plan to curb violence in the city
COPYRIGHT 2020 CAROLE OSTERINK