police reform | WAMC

police reform

the front door of Springfield Police Headquarters

    A year after a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Justice about the Springfield, Massachusetts police department, talks continue toward a settlement agreement on reforms. 

New York State Senator Robert Jackson
Karen DeWitt

Supporters of a measure that would end some legal immunity for police officers who injure or kill a citizen during an arrest rallied at the New York State Capitol Wednesday. They say the practice, known as qualified immunity, gives bad cops too much protection.

rally at Northampton City Hall

     The one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer will be marked today with an event in Northampton.

A Troy Police Department patrol vehicle
Lucas Willard / WAMC

After hours of discussion and weeks of community opposition, the Troy City Council Thursday night approved a budget transfer to hire six new community police officers. 

4/21/21 RT Panel

Apr 21, 2021
Microphone in radio studio

            The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, President of the Albany branch of the NAACP Debora Brown-Johnson, UAlbany Lecturer in Africana Studies Jennifer Burns, Immigration attorney and Partner with the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, Cianna Freeman-Tolbert, and Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

Plattsburgh City Hall (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Communities across New York were mandated to perform a review of their police departments and policing policies and submit a plan to the state by April 1st detailing reforms in procedures and community engagement.  The Plattsburgh Common Council approved the city’s recommended plan Wednesday night.

Members of the Saratoga Springs City Council met Wednesday over Zoom
Zoom/City of Saratoga Springs/Image capture by WAMC

In accordance with a state mandate, the Saratoga Springs city council adopted a police reform plan Wednesday night ahead of an April 1st deadline.

The Town of Niskayuna approved a police reform plan on Tuesday
Town of Niskayuna/Image capture by WAMC

The Town of Niskayuna has approved its police reform plan under a New York State mandate. 

Resident delivers comments during Sullivan County public hearing on draft police reform plan, March 26, 2021
Courtesy of Sullivan County government/screenshot by WAMC, Allison Dunne

A committee of the Sullivan County legislature held a public hearing Friday on the county’s draft police reform report. There is a second public hearing Tuesday morning, two days before plans are due to the state.

The Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Members of the group tasked with reviewing police standards and practices in Saratoga Springs are objecting to a recently released draft police reform plan.

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors has approved recommendations to improve policing under an executive order by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Book cover for "The Devil You Know" and author photo of Charles M. Blow

Acclaimed New York Times columnist and author Charles M. Blow never wanted to write a “race book.” But as both physical and psychological violence against Black people seemed only to increase in recent years, culminating in the historic pandemic and protests of the summer of 2020, he felt compelled to write a new story for Black Americans.

His new book is "The Devil You Know."

The Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force received some public comment Wednesday night on its draft police reform recommendations. But one case continues to dominate conversation around policing in the Spa City.

The Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force met Wednesday night over Zoom
Zoom/Screen grab by WAMC

In compliance with a state mandate to “reimagine” policing, the Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force has approved a list of policy recommendations to be reviewed by the city council.

City of Poughkeepsie virtual public meeting on draft police reforms, February 10, 2021
Courtesy of the City of Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie officials have been gathering public feedback on the city’s draft report on police reforms. The report is in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York state Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, and is due by April 1st. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer et al. discuss Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force Report & Recommendations
Courtesy of the Office of Westchester County Executive George Latimer

A task force in Westchester County has issued its draft police reform report and recommendations. A few of the task force members are discussing some of the recommendations in the 179-page report.

Jerry Ford speaks at Monday night's meeting of the Troy Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative
City of Troy, Zoom, image captured by WAMC

Troy has begun public meetings of its Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. Tonight, city residents will have the chance to share their thoughts in a public forum. As WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, a coalition of the city’s Black leaders offered recommendations this week.

Civil Rights Attorney Michael Sussman
WAMC, Allison Dunne

Civil rights attorneys have sent a letter with more than 300 signatures to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, asking to push back the April 1st deadline for communities to complete their police reforms. They say municipalities have not addressed the underlying issues of systemic racism and police misconduct.

the front door of Springfield Police Headquarters

        Frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress in reforming the police department, activists in Springfield, Massachusetts want the U.S. Department of Justice to step back in. 

Seal of the Newburgh Police Department
City of Newburgh, NY

The City of Newburgh held a public hearing Monday night on its draft report on police reform. It’s part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring local police agencies to modernize their strategies and programs based on community input. One of the related laws the city adopted over the summer faced a lot of backlash, and the city manager announced at the start of the hearing that the law was now tabled.

Seal of the Newburgh Police Department
City of Newburgh, NY

The City of Newburgh has released a draft plan to reimagine policing in accordance with a New York State directive.

The Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Facing an April deadline under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive, the Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force met Wednesday evening to discuss some proposed revisions to policing policy.

A bearded white man speaks while seated at a table with a brick wall behind him and a mic with a WAMC logo on it in front of him
Josh Landes / WAMC

Not all Berkshire County legislators are pleased with the final form of the police reform bill Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law on Thursday.

A white man in a suit stands in front of a bookshelf.

Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has returned a police reform bill to the state legislature with a list of desired changes.

A woman in a blue suit stands in front of a set of stone stairs
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington is voicing her support for two new police reform bills passed by the Massachusetts legislature. The measures are now on Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s desk. Harrington, a first-term Democrat, spoke to WAMC about why she’s backing the measures — and why she thinks the Police Officer Standards and Training, or POST, system the legislation calls for is good for the commonwealth.

Andrea Harrington stands at a podium with a row of people behind her.
Josh Landes / WAMC

The District Attorney of Berkshire County says she supports the police reform bill the Massachusetts legislature passed this month.

WAMC's Jackie Orchard interviewing Officer Devin Anderson on a Friday night ride-along.
Officer Steve Smith / APD

Following the May death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody – Albany experienced a slew of protests and riots, New York repealed a law that restricted access to police disciplinary records and a statewide mandate to reimagine policing was instituted. To learn how these events have impacted policing in New York’s capital city, I rode along with an Albany Police lieutenant and spoke with a local Black rights activist.

Springfield Police Department Headquarters on Pearl Street
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Pressing for police reforms, the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts has rejected a proposed contract for police supervisors.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch held a virtual panel discussion this week with the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus and Vermont racial justice advocates about systemic racial bias and efforts to move toward equity.

Springfield City Hall at night
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

   A years-long standoff between the executive and legislative branches of government in the largest city in western Massachusetts is heading to court.