For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director
Poughkeepsie, NY… To encourage public participation and provide transparency, Dutchess County’s Police Reform & Modernization Collaborative has launched a new website and announced a series of community forums. The new website, DutchessNY.gov/PoliceReform provides information and updates about the ongoing work of the Collaborative and opportunities for community input, including several upcoming virtual forums that will be moderated by the Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Transparency is at the very heart of the work we are doing. Creating this new webpage, holding these forums, and every step of the way working alongside key stakeholders will ensure an open and fair process by which we develop new plans and ideas for our police agencies. I’m thankful for the work our team is doing and look forward to hearing ideas from the public on what we should be focused on in the development of these reforms.”
There will be six community forums, organized by geographic area, where community members will have a platform and opportunity to speak to those involved with police reform issues. Participatants will be able to provide input on what reforms they believe should be enacted. Forums will be held via Zoom, will be two hours long, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be available for the hearing impaired. Registration is required to participate; to sign-up for one of the forums, visit the new Police Reform & Modernization Website.
The schedule of the forums is as follows:
The Collaborative will also conduct additional virtual forums in Spanish. Further information about dates and sign-up information about the Spanish language forums will be posted on the Police Reform & Modernization Collaborative’s webpage at DutchessNY.gov/PoliceForums.
Those who would like to participate in the virtual forums, either by listening or offering commentary and feedback, must register prior to the event’s start time. Those who would like to speak will be given three minutes and priority will be given to those who live, work, volunteer, or worship in, or have a direct connection to, the municipality being discussed. Elected officials and police agency chiefs from across Dutchess County will listen to commentary being shared.
Jody Miller, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said, “The Commission on Human Rights is committed to making sure everyone who wants to contribute ideas and feedback to this process is heard. We’re encouraging anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, has family in, or is connected to a municipality listed for a particular forum to sign-up at DutchessNY.gov/PoliceForums. We want people to share their specific ideas about police reform that will assist the County and municipalities with police agencies to develop their plans.”
Individuals who are unable to attend their community’s forum will be able to watch recordings after the event on the County’s Police Reform & Modernization webpage.
The new website will also feature a public comment form for those who would like to submit written testimony and ideas. The Police Reform & Modernization Collaborative’s webpage also features summaries of each workgroup’s meetings, news updates and other pertinent information regarding police reform measures. Individuals can also sign up for email updates
Website visitors can also view Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203, which mandates that local municipalities with police agencies develop a new law enforcement plan that will include reforms, policies and procedures necessary “to eliminate racial inequities in policing, to modify and modernize policing strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, and to develop practices to better address the particular needs of communities of color to promote public safety, improve community engagement, and foster trust.” Such agreed-upon reforms will be added to the final report the Collaborative creates to be distributed to all local police agencies and municipalities.