Institute to Work with Schenectady on Reimagining Policing

Albany, NY, August 7, 2020 – Police departments across New York State are embarking on a review of deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, as mandated by a gubernatorial executive order. Schenectady’s Mayor Gary McCarthy and Chief of Police Eric Clifford formed a task force, on which Chief Clifford invited the Institute to participate.

Governor Cuomo’s executive order directs police departments across New York State to “develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.” Schenectady is, accordingly, reaching out to community organizations to solicit their input.

The Institute has partnered with the Schenectady Police Department (SPD) and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office on a number of projects that span more than ten years, and its staff has become familiar with many of SPD’s strategies, policies and practices. The projects include an evaluation of public surveillance cameras; a study of procedural justice and management accountability; Schenectady’s focused deterrence initiative, Schenectady Strong; and a study of police interactions with victims of violence. Going forward, the Institute will compile and analyze community organizations’ input to the task force, analyze data on SPD operations, and assess all of the information against existing bodies of scientific evidence on and best practices in police strategies and management.

Sarah McLean, the Institute’s Associate Director, said, “We look forward to working with the task force on this important undertaking. We know from our experience partnering with the police department and others in Schenectady that they are truly committed to fostering community trust and engagement and that the task force will actively seek input from the community and use that input to identify ways to better serve the diverse communities within the city.”

Additional information can be found in reporting by the Albany Times Union, here. The full text of the governor’s executive order is here.

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