Plattsburgh citizens panel to focus on community policing, accountability

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Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read says he’s putting together a panel focusing on community policing.

“We’re going to move very swiftly into 21st century community policing in Plattsburgh. This board will have an ongoing role to advise the common council in accountability issues and investigation oversight, not investigating themselves, just oversight.”

Read said the Public Safety Citizens Review Panel will be tasked with making recommendations on use of force by police officers, de-escalation training and exercises, crowd management and other issues. He said he hopes to have it up and running by the end of this year.

Read said he’s not in favor of de-funding the police, but does support reforms.

“Certainly our citizens deserve and expect to not only be protected, and I am proud of the job that our various first responders do in protecting us,” he said. “But everybody, everybody has to also feel protected and feel safe. And that’s why we need a citizens discussion to do this.”

And while police brutality hasn’t been an urgent issue in the City, Read said he believes reform is necessary to mend a rocky relationship between community members and police officers.

“I know there is a little bit of a gulf in expectations right now, and I vow to fill that gulf and bridge that divide, so the public is confident in our public safety officials, and our public safety officials are confident in the public support,” he said. “We have our work cut out to do this, but I’m confident we can do that.”

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