New Paltz to hold police reform meetings

Town of New Paltz residents should get their first opportunity to talk to members of the police reform and reinvention collaborative toward the end of October, according to the group’s spokesperson. The community collaborative was formed in response to governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring the review of police policies by such a group with an eye for anything that might contribute to systemic racism.

Esi Lewis, the collaborative’s spokesperson, said at the October 1 joint town-village meeting that the steering committee was preparing for a town-hall-style meeting to allow people to express their concerns around policing and to offer suggestions on improving the department. There has been considerable interest in speaking to members of this group, who must prepare a report to be accepted by the town board by Apri 1.

Meetings will be held with specific stakeholder groups later. Invitations to do this have been declined until now, as collaborative members have prioritized “getting history and context” about the town police. A coordinated process for meeting with particular groups will guide those meetings. “Distance and learning has been necessary to understand what we are doing, before we can re-imagine,” Lewis said.

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Members are doing police training, including training in defense tactics, to help them understand what officers are taught and why. According to member Diana Armstead, they hope to undergo all the training that’s available.

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