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Rochester City Council confirms Police Accountability Board members

Charles Molineaux
Updated: January 21, 2020 11:25 PM
Created: January 21, 2020 07:24 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Tuesday night, Rochester’s City Council voted unanimously to confirm the proposed members of the Police Accountability Board.

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Board members actually first got together last week, and they expect to be getting together possibly as often as weekly as they ramp up to deal with allegations of misconduct, and maybe come up with their own ideas for how police should be doing business. 

The next step is for the board members to hire their own Executive Director.

One of the board's champions on the council, President Loretta Scott, says she has some ideas of what she'd look for.

"Both analysis, criminal justice also has a strong leadership ability. All of that. Any knowledge of law enforcement required? Not law-enforcement per se," Scott said.

The Executive Director is also supposed to start a training program for the board to understand the world of Rochester's police and police hope they can offer some lessons.

"We're going to have a lot of training in police procedure and their experience. We will probably have some training in the background," PAB member Rabbi Drorah Setel said.

Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary: "Many of the… What goes into some of the decisions that police officers make day in and day out when they are out there risking their lives."

Charles Molineaux: "Things people may not understand?"

Singletary: "Correct."

Nine people were appointed after 61 applied to join it.

The board will be able to set up its own standards for disciplining police in matters of police conduct and even overrule the police chief. For a complete list of the board’s responsibilities, click here

The Rochester Police Locust Club previously filed a lawsuit against the PAB, claiming it would violate existing police union contracts.

It released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

“We continue to have serious concerns regarding City Council’s lack of transparency in the Police Accountability Board selection process and the lack of accountability for that board once it is in place. We trust that pending litigation on this matter will address and remedy our concerns.”

James VanBrederode, the president of the Monroe County Police Chiefs Association and Gates Police Chief, says state civil service law and police union contracts are specifically written to keep police discipline out of the hands of overtly political influences like the Police Accountability Board. 

He says he suspects it may not survive in court.

But until something comes of that legal challenge, board members say they'll proceed, and be understanding of police skepticism.


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