Overview of Change
Executive Order number 203, “The New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative” requires all law enforcement agencies in New York State to develop a plan based upon input from the community. This Plan is “intended to help rebuild the confidence and restore the trust between the police and the community it serves by requiring localities to develop a new plan for policing in the community based on fact-finding and meaningful community input”.
The Village of Waterloo and the Waterloo Police Department are proud of the collaborative effort that was made in developing our response to Executive Order Number 203. Every effort was made to conduct outreach and engagement in the community highlighted in the Governor’s Order. This engagement and outreach are highlighted in significant detail in the contents of this plan.
In fulfilling Executive Order 203, the Village of Waterloo and the Waterloo Police Department performed a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices. It should be noted that upon review of the department policies and procedures they were all found to be compliant with current federal and state laws as well as model policies as promulgated by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council. These policies and procedures cover many aspects of law enforcement from Rules and Regulations, Use of Force, Crowd Control and Social Unrest, Domestic Disputes, Discipline Procedures, and Internal Affairs Investigations to identify a few. All Policies and Procedures promulgated by the Waterloo Police Department meet standards set forth by the New York State Accreditation Standards. All policies and procedures are reviewed yearly, and updates made as needed or mandated by the State of New York.
In accordance with Executive Order 203, the Village of Waterloo and the Waterloo Police Department developed a plan that considered the needs and concerns of the community served by the Waterloo Police Department.
The Village of Waterloo and the Waterloo Police Department consulted and engaged with various stakeholders, including but not limited to membership and leadership of local law enforcement agencies, members of the community, non-profit and faith-based community groups, the local office of the District Attorney, local public defender, local elected officials, and mental health practitioners. All of this was accomplished by the creation of the Seneca County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee which was comprised of entities outlined above.
The Seneca County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee was created to “foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy devoid of racial bias” and its work was conducted by recognizing the concerns expressed by the communities of color and other minorities in the Village of Waterloo.
In developing the Plan, the Village of Waterloo, the Waterloo Police Department and the Seneca County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee had discussions and reviewed various documents and materials related to evidence-based policing strategies highlighted by Executive Order 203.
The Seneca County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee met on several occasions and promulgated a Village-wide survey in which 508 respondents participated. In addition to the surveys, a public meeting was held where members of the community were able to voice their thoughts, concerns and ideas about the many functions of the police department.
These engagements resulted in not only the creation of the plan but also a commitment by all parties to continue the discussion regarding community policing and the various action steps
outlined in the Plan, including but not limited to, Implicit Bias Training, certifying a defensive tactic instructor, Mental Health CIT training for all officers, development and updating department Policies and Procedures, adequate training for all officers of the department and a more transparent look in to department functions by the use of the Waterloo Police Department Smart Phone App.