Justice Reform

When police officers abuse their power and authority, it reflects on the entire police force and contributes to the “them vs us” attitude on all sides and results in poor positive community interaction.  We need to make changes to eliminate negative attitudes and work towards a healthier interaction between police and community.

 

I support having local, or regional non-partisan, independent review boards, responsible to review all police reports of abuse, violence, shootings and any other procedural violations. I also support an independent prosecutor to bring any necessary charges to trial.

I also support increased training for police officers in:

  • how to de-escalate situations using non-violent tactics and using a weapon only after all other non-violent means have failed

  • working with mentally & physically disabled

  • working with the homeless

  • how to handle dogs and pets and learning how to understand dog behavior

  • working with Domestic Violence (DV) who go with police on a DV call. The DV advocates will be in charge of the situation and the police will be there for protection.

 

I would like to see programs that would help eliminate the “them vs us” culture and improve work with the community

  • If the area permits, have half of the shift walk the beat and the other half ride and alternate the officers.  In doing so the officers and the community neighborhood get to know each other.

  • Establish PAL programs (Police Athletic/Activities Leagues) for those communities that don't already have one. These programs encourage officers to coach sports for young children & teens, tutor in after-school programs and participate in other youth programs. A successful PAL program helps break down the fear of police that many youth may have and helps develop a positive relationship between police and youth.

  • Police officers should be provided with regular anger management programs and therapy.

  • We need to demilitarize the police, removing military equipment.

 

Blue Wall of Silence

Lastly, we must encourage and bring an end to the Blue Wall of Silence. The Blue Wall is a major cause of distrust in our communities. The Silence allows bad officers to stay on the job and jeopardizes the safety and lives of the good officers. We need to have a system that holds officers accountable who violate their oaths of office on the first charge. We need to prevent the infiltration of officers with violations from becoming training officers, as was the case with Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd.

 

Ending the Blue Wall of Silence and instilling trust back into the community is going to take time, hard work and voting on new justice reform laws, all of which I am prepared to do as your assemblyperson in Albany.

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