Saturday, January 23, 2021

Police Reform in Hudson

Last evening, Mayor Kamal Johnson held a Police Reform Town Hall during which members of the Police Advisory and Reconciliation Commission (PARC) reported on the work of the commission since its formation in July 2020. 

During the town hall, Linda Friedner provided an overview of how the commission had approached and carried out its task. Sergeant Mishanda Franklin discussed recommendations for new programs suggested by the Hudson Police Department. Cheryl Roberts, city attorney and counsel for the Greenberger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, spoke about the transinstitutionalization of the mentally ill from asylums to prisons and the effort being undertaken in Hudson and Columbia County to identify "gaps in the system where people are falling through the cracks." Theo Anthony made a presentation about the use of force and body camera policy. Joan E. Hunt, of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, was to make a presentation about safeguarding children of incarcerated parents, but she was unable to be present for the meeting.

Prior to the town hall, the report prepared by PARC and submitted to the mayor on December 7 was made available on the City of Hudson website. That report can be found here

Based on the report, the following goals were outlined for Year One:

1.  The police department will increase its transparency to the community it serves

Disclose all third party contracts
Civilian Complaint Forms 

2.  Policy Practices

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents 
Body camera policy
Principles of "necessary and proportional" 
Define a "use of force continuum"
Defining "de-escalation" 
If all other options have been exhausted, the officer needs to provide a clear and audible warning that they are escalating to deadly force 

3.   General Recommendations

Police Advisory and Conciliation Committee (PARC) will be made a permanent committee
Hiring of minority officers 
Community Conversations
Compile local data on no-knock warrants 
Formalize ban on chokeholds and no-knock raids 

4.   Police Recommendations

Increase training to specific officers' strengths
Community "Ride-Along" Program
Implement Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 
Implement programs like "Coffee with a Cop" and the "Explorer Program" as a model

5.  General Orders Review and Disclosure 

Vehicle and Traffic Stops 
Crisis Intervention and Assisting the Mentally Ill 
In-Service Training
Department Discipline 

6.  Data Collection Management and Disclosure

All incidents whereby any Use-of-Force/Response to Resistance event occurs  
Type(s) of force utilized and findings of the follow-up investigation  
All Civilian Complaints, type(s) of complaints, and their findings
Online Civilian complaints will have the option to remain anonymous 

 7.  Body Camera Recommendations

Record audio and video in buffer mode, expand buffer mode to 120 seconds
Prohibit the ability of officers to view footage before making sworn statements in critical incidents
Audit program for effectiveness
Ban video manipulation by police departments
Opt out of sharing Hudson Police Department footage on Axon 

There will be a public hearing on the proposed reforms on Friday, January 29. Yesterday's town hall can be viewed here. The report prepared by PARC can be found here.

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