June 17, 2020
In response to the Governors Executive Order issued on June 12, 2020, requiring every police agency in New York to implement Police Reform locally; it is important for residents in Monroe County to understand that many of the outlined requirements are already being met.
In 1989 New York State created the Police Accreditation Program; a program that sets “best practices” for managing a Police Department. There are presently one hundred nineteen (119) categories of policies and procedures the accreditation program addresses: From topics like Use of Force, Firearms Discharge, Budgeting Responsibility, Hiring Practices, Arrest Procedures, Citizen Complaints to having a Community Mission Statement. This is a VOLUNTARY Program. Once an agency meets the standards set forth, they are audited every two years to ensure the policies are in fact being followed and every 5th year, there is a three (3) day on site review assessment. These standards are very comprehensive and exhaustive.
In 1992 the Gates Police Department, after two (2) years of internal review and changes to our department’s operation, became Accredited by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. In 2004, Monroe County Law Enforcement made history when all eleven (11) police agencies reached the New York State Accreditation standards. We were the first County in the State of New York where every local law enforcement agency was fully accredited. To this day, we still hold this honor. Of the five hundred (500) plus agencies in New York, only approximately one hundred fifty (150) are accredited by the State of New York. Additionally, The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Rochester Police Department went on to receive a National Accreditation known as CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies). There are approximately only eight hundred (800) agencies across the Country that have met the CALEA Accreditation Standards. The Rochester Police, back in the early 1990’s, was the first agency in the State of New York to receive such accreditation.
It is important that our residents know, that the Law Enforcement Agencies in Monroe County, have always been ahead of the curve in training and best practices. As we review the Governor’s Executive Order, many of these requirements are already being met.
The verbal scolding by the Governor last Friday regarding Law Enforcement in New York needs to be toned back. It is unfair to paint every agency with the same brush or to create a perception that all Law Enforcement is not meeting community needs. There have been absolutely no requests here in Gates to defund the Police or to remove our Officer’s from the schools. Our local departments are following the “Best Practices” established by Albany. Additionally, as with the sweeping changes of Bail Reform, there has been no open dialogue or input from L.E., decisions are being made by a handful of individuals. This is one of the obstacles when you have a “one political party” rule situation. Democracy is missing.
;All of your local Police Chiefs spend countless hours working on building relationships with our residents and developing community policing efforts. In fact, the majority of our work day is spent on building community bridges. We take our responsibilities very seriously. We ask that the Rochester Community continue to judge us with an impartial lens.
Going forward, the Governor should be advocating that every police department in New York be accredited. This seems like a more sweeping and comprehensive goal. In closing…….When we get things wrong, we take responsibility. Likewise, when we get things right, we would appreciate the acknowledgment by our political leaders.
Chief VanBrederode - President