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Police Reform Moves Forward in Dutchess County
Molinaro’s 2021 Executive Budget supports law enforcement while continuing commitment to mental health issues

Published: 10/23/2020

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, Communications Director


Poughkeepsie, NY…  Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced his 2021 Executive Budget will include several police reforms and mental health services improvements. This announcement comes ahead of the budget release scheduled for Wednesday, October 28th. Watch a video of the announcement online.

Law enforcement reforms in the budget proposal include the purchase and use of body cameras, implicit bias and procedural justice trainings, and efforts to expand the officer candidate pool. County Executive Molinaro also re-affirmed the County’s commitment to continued improvement of its 24/7 crisis intervention services with the announcement that HELPLINE will be colocated with the 911 call center, the Mobile Crisis Team will expand operations, and the Stabilization Center’s day to day operations will be run by community partner organizations.

County Executive Molinaro said, “We have a duty here in our community to strengthen what works, fix what is broken, and come together to build a safer and freer home for all. Despite the challenges 2020 has presented us, my Executive Budget enhances our County’s mental health crisis services to be more nimble and responsive to the needs of the community, while giving law enforcement the tools necessary to protect and serve us.”

Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson said, “Everyone involved in this police modernization process has the common goal to become better and stronger as a community. The steps we in law enforcement have taken so far, and the initiatives in the County Executive’s proposed budget will go a long way to improve existing policies and procedures, and foster stronger relationships with our communities. I thank the County Executive for his leadership during the budget process and I look forward to the passage of this budget.”

Many of these changes come from the discussions and recommendations of the County’s Police Reform and Modernization Collaborative; a group of elected officials, all police chiefs, community stakeholders, county employees and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, who have been tasked with creating a unified, countywide law enforcement plan with reforms to address racial inequities and community needs. In addition to the Collaborative’s full reform plan, which will be released in 2021, County Executive Molinaro’s 2021 Executive Budget includes several pre-emptive reforms including:

  • Providing countywide Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias Awareness training for law enforcement through the Criminal Justice Council (CJC).  The County with Sheriff Anderson, is facilitating the training of Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and each municipality’s police officers. Procedural Justice training is an evidence-based training program designed to ensure citizens are treated with fairness and respect. Implicit bias training teaches awareness of and addresses the automatic assumptions made between groups and stereotypes about those groups.
    • 200 police officers across Dutchess County have already signed up for one of eight procedural justice classes scheduled at the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Center between October and December 2020. Each class is eight hours in length, and additional classes are being scheduled for January and March of 2021.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability by having all Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Deputies wear body cameras while on patrol. The Sheriff’s Office joins the City of Poughkeepsie in requiring the use of body cameras, and the County encourages their use throughout all law enforcement agencies in the county.
  • Expanding access to, and the diversity of, the officer candidate pool. Currently, police academy applicants are required to have a minimum of 60 college credits, in addition to several other requirements. Dutchess County is changing the college credit requirement such that new officers are required to achieve those 60 credits within five years and complete crisis intervention training within two years.
  • Streamlining the administration of crisis intervention training by making it part of police academy training. All Sheriff’s Deputies are already required to take crisis intervention training, and over 75% of law enforcement officers throughout the county have been trained in recent years.
  • Physically moving Dutchess County’s HELPLINE operations into the Department of Emergency Response facility’s 911 call center. HELPLINE, the County’s 24/7 mental health emergency call and text line, will be co-located with the 911 call center to ensure callers are connected with the resources they need more quickly and efficiently. This move allows opportunities for cross training and an expanded multi-disciplinary approach to emergency dispatch and response.
  • Expanding operations of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) to be more fluid and proactive. To be more accessible and productive, the MCIT will remain in the field even when they aren’t responding to a call. MCIT is changing its operating model to be more flexible with the inclusion of case management professionals staffed by Mental Health America.
  • Strengthening Stabilization Center’s ability to respond to and assist any individual who walks in or is brought in by law enforcement. Community partners Mental Health America, Astor Services, and PeopleUSA will assume day to day operations and will increase staffing of the Stabilization Center, strengthening the County’s ability to connect individuals with help and divert them from incarceration and emergency departments.

County Executive Molinaro will release his 2021 Executive Budget Address online at on Wednesday, October 28th in advance of the November 1st deadline required by the Dutchess County Administrative Code. Later that evening at 5:30 p.m., County Executive Molinaro and Budget Director Jessica White will host a countywide tele/Facebook live town hall forum.  Residents will have the opportunity to participate in a live conversation about the 2021 County Budget, learn key details, ask questions and share feedback. County Executive Molinaro will also host a series of virtual 2021 Executive Budget town hall forums during the month of November.