Police Accountability

In the City of Rochester, over 98% of members of the Rochester Police Department do not live in the city they police.  This constitutes an “occupying force” in neighborhoods of color.  Based on the report from Ted Forsyth and Barbara Lacker-Ware, previous work from the Coalition for Police Reform, and current work by the Police Accountability Board Alliance, along with anecdotal evidence, it is clear that there is a problem in Rochester with its police department.  Racist policies, procedures, and individuals within RPD are covered by a lack of transparency and a complicit political structure.  Therefore, the Green Party of Monroe County calls for:

*An independent investigative body that can question witnesses and gather information. 

  • This body should be able to conduct hearings via a panel of local citizens to make conclusions of police misconduct and impose disciplinary measures as necessary and appropriate.
  • This body should have access to RPD’s policies and procedures, and have the ability to influence revisions.
  • This body should have a makeup of at least half the board be people of color; half the board be local citizens who identify as women; representation by citizens who identify as having an alternative sexual orientation; representation of the disability community.

* More community policing, conflict resolution, disability issues, and restorative policing practices to be taught at the police academy.

* RPD training and procedures should be available to all citizens online and in hard copy at public libraries.

* Extensive and on-going anti-racism training should be put in place for every employee of RPD.

* It should be written into the bargaining agreement between RPD and the police union that every member of RPD who wears a badge should undergo regular, mandatory psychological examinations by independent evaluators.  These evaluations should be key in allowing officers to remain employed with RPD.

* The current policy in which RPD operates police-worn body cameras is insufficient.  RPD should adapt in total, the recommended policies proposed by the Coalition for Police Reform.  Key provisions included in their recommendations are:

  • All officers should wear cameras.
  • There should be a more open policy as to the public viewing footage.
  • There should be better supervision of camera use.

* Elected officials at the local and state levels should work together to get state law 50a repealed that currently makes police disciplinary records unobtainable by citizens. 

*Elected officials at the State level should change current law that says that police officers can live in the adjacent county to the district in which they work.  This should be changed to adjacent municipality.

*Elected officials at the State level should repeal the law that mandates that a person be charged with a felony offense if during any interaction with an officer, that officer is injured in any way – even if the injury is not connected with the actual interaction.  The standard should be the same as if the interaction occurred between two citizens not on a police force.

*All local elected officials should advocate for legislation that promotes provisions of the Green Party of New York State’s Criminal Justice and Prison Reform platform plank.

*While the above provisions are being enacted, our local government should be working with community leaders toward a drastic reduction in our police force to coincide with a dramatic increase in humanistic measures that has been shown to reduce crime.  Such measures include:

  • Increased economic opportunity for current residents of the City – including teens.
  • An end to redlining and gentrification.
  • An increase of restorative justice practices.
  • Decriminalization of marijuana.
  • A county-wide increase of mental health services.
  • More recreation and library hours.
  • An end to outdated teaching methods in our schools.


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