Plattsburgh needs to develop action plan for police reform by April 1

Local News

Every city throughout New York State is facing a hard deadline of April 1 to develop an action plan for police reform. Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed the deadline in an executive order last June, in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.

In Plattsburgh, a group calling itself the Public Safety Citizens’ Review Panel surveyed the Lake City. The questions centered around trust in local police, the community’s own view of its greatest crime-related problems and recommendations to resolve those problems. The panel also met with the Plattsburgh City Police and community focus groups.

“(The Common Council Public Safety Committee is) going to be having a meeting on the 9th to discuss the Public Safety Citizens’ Review Panel findings as a group,” Councilor Elizabeth Gibbs said Thursday night. She chairs that committee. “We’re re-assembling as a group to evaluate those, so I’m looking forward to that.”

The review panel’s findings include no fewer than 20 recommendations. One is to expand the use of foot patrols, and one-on-one personal interactions by officers, outside of responses to calls. Others include recurring training in areas like use of force, implicit bias and mental health issues, as well as implementing the use of body cameras.

“We do have the continuation of the Public Safety Review Panel to review the recommendations of that panel and to create a plan,” Mayor Chris Rosenquest said.

During Thursday night’s council meeting, another councilor had kudos for the Municipal Lighting Department’s ability to maintain power and heat throughout the winter.

“I don’t know if any of you followed the big events that took place down in Texas following their — for them, a gigantic snowstorm,” Councilor Mike Kelly said. “But it shows the difference between a public utility and a private utility.”

On Monday, Mayor Rosenquest tweeted that his son needed to quarantine for ten days due to COVID-19 exposure. In doing so, he added that he and his wife would also stay home until hearing otherwise from the Clinton County Health Department.

The mayor is apparently still waiting. As of late Thursday night, he hadn’t posted anything on either Twitter or Facebook since his Monday tweets.

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