Little Falls Police Department Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Plan
This plan regarding the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative effort mandated by Governor Cuomo via Executive Order #203.
Purpose: To foster trust, fairness and legitimacy within communities throughout our state and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.
Little Falls Police Department is staffed by:
• 1 Chief of Police;
• 3 Sergeants;
• 6 Full-Time Police Officers and;
• 15 Part-Time Police Officers.
We serve a geographical area of 3.99 square miles, with a population of 4,946 as of 2010. The Mohawk River/Erie Canal, and CSX/Amtrak Railway run through the jurisdiction, dividing the city into north and south segments. The agency handles more than 2,000 calls every year, and runs a state certified police academy at its facility every 18 months.
When this Executive Order was released and provided to our agency, it was accompanied by a 135-page book with suggestions, ideas, best practices, and topic to consider as a part of our review and plan. The need to have unbiased interaction and a collaborative approach to successful policing is imperative for public safety and for public confidence in our service. We have and will continue to strive to be an agency that cares, serves, and supports the residents of the City of Little Falls and its surrounding neighbors.
Goals and Objectives: 1. Review the needs of the community served by its police agency and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices. 2. Continue to establish policies that allow the agency to effectively and safely perform their duties. 3. Involve the community in the discussion. 4. Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review. 5. Offer the plan for public comment. 6. Present the plan to the City Council to ratify or adopt. 7. Certify the adoption of the plan and submit to the State Budget Director.
1. Review the needs of the community served by its police agency and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices.
a. Reviewing the needs of the community and evaluating our policies and procedures is something we do continually. Our policies are created by the Chief of Police for safe, sound, practical and necessary procedures to govern the agency. The purpose of ordered Policy and Procedures is to ensure that the agency serves the community’s need and demand for humane, transparent operations of public safety and service. Little Falls Police Department utilizes the Lexipol Inc. web based application to manage these policies and requires that officers review new policies and re-train on established polices. The needs of the community are the most important and affects the services we provide and how we provide them. We participate in public meetings and events and our patrols try to engage the community every chance they get in hopes of being a good partner and staying ahead of any necessary changes or potential issues.
2. Continue to establish policies that allow the agency to effectively and safely perform their duties.
a. The new Chief of Police has set a goal of obtaining state accreditation within 24 months with the State of New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. This certification is described below:
i. Accreditation is a progressive and contemporary way of helping police agencies evaluate and improve their overall performance. It provides formal recognition that an organization meets or exceeds general expectations of quality in the field. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation – and proof of enforcement – of policies that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.
ii. When completed, everything we do will be monitored and approved by the accreditation counsel, which is controlled by the State of New York. The Chief of Police is the controlling force obligated to continually monitor our policies, make any necessary changes and communicate with the state when there is an issue.
1. The New York State program became operational in 1989 and encompasses 109 standards developed to further enhance the capabilities of an agency and is divided into three categories:
a. Standards in the Administrative section have provisions for such topics as:
i. Agency organization;
ii. Fiscal management;
iii. Personnel practices and;
iv. Records management.
b. Training standards encompass basic and in-service instruction, as well as training for:
i. Supervisors and;
ii. Specialized or technical assignments.
c. Operations standards deal with such critical and litigious topics as:
i. Highspeed pursuits;
iii. Patrol, and;
iv. Unusual occurrences.
2. When the state updates their program standards, they update their verification manual and notify agencies, who then make necessary changes to maintain compliance.
3. The Police department will coordinate an annual review of agency policy and conduct audits and inspections as necessary to ensure compliance with the accreditation standards and agency policy.
3. Involve the community in the discussion.
a. Mindful of the COVID-19 this year, we involved the community in this reform and reinvention collaborative plan. We brought together representatives from most of the sub-groups in the community using the Police and Fire Board to represent seniors, youth, public service, business and others with stakeholders.
b. Discussion involved several topics including:
i. Policing sects of the population of people of color;
ii. Interaction with community;
iii. Transparency of the police department to the public;
iv. New training topics;
v. Agency Policy;
4. Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review. As a result, the agency is committed to improvement by:
a. Encouraging officers to have more personal interaction with community members, not just during an emergency situation;
b. Increase the police department’s community presence;
c. Increase agency transparency by:
1. Posting statistics on the website.
2. Posting Use of Force Policy on website.
3. Posting Officer Complaint Form on website.
d. Continued accountability for staff misconduct;
e. Mandated De-escalation Training, Crisis Training and Response for Mental Health Issues.
f. Update Defensive Tactics Training to exclude chokeholds;
g. Continued review of Use of Force events through policy recently instituted mandating a review of all incidents. All incidents are reviewed for compliance by the Chief of Police;
h. Re-work the agency Use of Force policy to include wording and policy changes in as approved by NYS MPTC sample policy.
5. Offer the plan for public comment.
a. This plan will be offered for public comment at City Council meeting in March.
6. Present the plan to the City Council to ratify or adopt.
a. Offer a resolution for the March board meeting.
7. Certify the adoption of the plan and submit to the State Budget Director.
a. Deliver by the 1st of April to the State Budget Director.