YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The future of policing in New York state will take shape between now and next April.
The state has released a 150-page document to guide municipalities as they set up police commissions for reform and reinvention.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello saw Tuesday, Yonkers officers Theotokatos and Jimenez have a touchscreen computer in their patrol car, and as of this week cameras on their uniforms. It’s a model so advanced it can livestream a video feed.
The Yonkers Police Department says body-worn cameras are the number one reform requested by citizens when they engage with leadership.
A pilot program is underway with a commitment to fund expansion next year.
“So what we’re looking to see from this pilot program is that those that fail to protect and serve are filtered out,” City Councilman Corazon Pineda Isaac said.
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Equipping cops with body-worn cameras doesn’t come cheap. Yonkers is looking at a $1.7 million initial investment for equipment, and $1.2 million to maintain the system every year, Aiello reported.
“This is one step to move towards more transparency and more community trust,” Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller said.
The commissioner said there will be other steps. Yonkers is forming a citizens commission to review policing with an eye on reform and reinvention, as required statewide by Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s administration.
In New Rochelle, 150 people applied for 15 spots on the local commission.
“They’re gonna look at use of force. They’re gonna look at our training practices. They are going to look at whether we do implicit bias training and things of that nature,” City Manager Charles Strome said.
One of the shocking things about the George Floyd case was the failure of three other cops to intervene forcefully, and save Floyd’s life.
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Many of these New York commissions will examine whether cops feel empowered to step up and speak out.
“No matter what the rank, no matter what the situation,” Strome said.
In all, 500 departments in New York will go through the reform process. Municipalities that fail to develop a plan will lose state law enforcement funding.
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