Saugerties names citizens to Police Reform Commission

The Saugerties Town Board has approved ten applicants for the new Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee: Christine Dinsmore, Tamika Dunkley, Rob Irizarry, Annette Mulyanti, Frazen Nadim, Joseph Puma, Gilda Riccardi, Robert Thomann, Gina Kiniry and Lanny Walter. The committee was formed pursuant to governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order calling for municipalities to review policies, procedures and activities of the Saugerties Police, the resolution to appoint the committee stated.

The town had appointed a committee in July to seek representatives for the new committee, supervisor Fred Costello said. Board members Michael Ivino and John Schoonmaker represented the board on that vetting committee, he said. 

“We ran an ad back in July asking for interested residents who were willing to participate in this endeavor, and we had 21 responses,” said Costello at the town board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, October 7. “A tremendous group of talented individuals were willing to share their time, that’s always uplifting.” 

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The members bring a variety of perspectives to the committee, Costello said. The committee will evaluate policing practices. “Our department is open-minded about this,” the town supervisor explained. “They are looking forward to their participation, and I am grateful for the membership of the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office. Those folks were our first choice because they are most active with the town courts. Criminal justice is not just the police department. It includes the judicial system as well, and their participation and perspective I think will be valuable as we try to make an analysis of the police of Saugerties.”

Costello said he expects that the committee will find that the police department has done a good job in reviewing its practices and hiring procedures and criteria. “We have an outstanding group of officers over there who are willing to serve, and their open-mindedness working with this committee will only serve to help our police department serve our community better.”  

Councilman Ivino said it had been a pleasure to be part of the vetting process. “I am confident we picked a very well-rounded team to represent us and work through, and I think there’s only good to come from this, and I’m looking forward to see what we come up with.”

Schoonmaker said nearly every aspect of Saugerties was represented on the committee chosen from the volunteers. “A psychologist, school board members, we even have an immigrant or two,” he said. “I think we did a really good job of making sure that every stakeholder is represented on this committee, and I’m looking forward to the plan they will be submitting.”

While they not part of the vetting committee, Nejla Liias, Gilda Riccardi and Tamika Dunkley contributed ideas and advice. Riccardi and Dunkley were appointed to the committee. Liias said she was ready to hand the job over to the appointed committee and thanked the town board for permitting her to be part of the process.

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