PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – A citizen-led public safety panel formed under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo is now turning to the community for insight on their experiences with local police.
The Public Safety Citizen’s Review Panel was given the task of sorting through local police policies and procedures and using that research to form a list of reform recommendations. The panel unveiled a community survey on Friday, and its results will inform their work as they enter the recommendation phase.
The 12-member panel put a lot of effort not only into the survey itself, but making sure it reaches as many people as possible.
“Our hope is to understand the community’s needs, not just on the adult level but the juvenile level,” said Emily Stacey, the panel’s chair. “I’m actually responsible for sending out the information to the Plattsburgh City School District, because we want teenagers to understand their voices should be heard too.”
The survey asks respondents a variety of questions, some of which ask about their trust in local police, changes they’d like to see implemented, and what they believe are the biggest issues in the community.
Stacey said panel members come from a variety of backgrounds in the community, which helped when it came time to create the survey.
“One panel member is part of the diversity and inclusion department at SUNY Plattsburgh,” Stacey said. “We have mental health professionals on our panel, we also have a retired police officer on our panel.”
Elizabeth Gibbs serves on the panel as well as on the Plattsburgh Common Council, and described where the process will go once the survey is over and there’s a better understanding of what aspects of the police department may need improvement.
“Those recommendations, depending on what they are, may require legislation on the part of the common council, or a policy change, which is also council action,” Gibbs said. “Possibly budget impacts, depending on what all of this means.”
The panel is scheduled to meet again on Monday. The survey is on the Plattsburgh city website and will be kept open through September 16.