City Council survey report on PAB: ‘Not effective,’ ‘No confidence,’ ‘Not present in community’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Rochester City Council posted the results of its non-scientific community survey on the Police Accountability Board.

Click here to read the survey report, written answers, and responses from people in the city. When you look at who answered the survey, most were over 30 years old, male, and white.

When asked how effective the PAB is, 522 of the 634 people in the city who took the survey answered, “Not effective.”

When asked about their confidence in the PAB, the vast majority answered, “Not confident.”

The Police Accountability Board was approved by a referendum in 2019 and its mission statement says it was created to “ensure public accountability and transparency over the powers exercised by sworn officers of the Rochester Police Department.”

City Councilmember Stanley Martin Tweeted about the survey.

Since its inception, the PAB has suffered claims and counterclaims of harassment, internal strife, firings and resignations.

The PAB has lost board members and its meeting in March was canceled because of lack of a quorum.

The PAB started with a $5 million budget, enough to staff 57 full-time positions.

Last month, City Council approved a new city budget which includes $3.4 million for the PAB to fund 30 full-time positions and two part-time positions. That matched the budget request submitted by the PAB.

As of February of 2023, the PAB employed 24 people.

The PAB’s website says it’s received a total of 338 reports on alleged police incidents, including 26 in the month of May.

However, the PAB has not issued a recommendation to the city or police department for disciplinary action against a police officer.

The survey finds that most people are familiar with the PAB, but when asked if the PAB is active in the community, 468 of the 634 respondents said, “Not present.” An overwhelming majority also said the PAB is “not transparent.”

The City Council’s survey report shows most of the 634 who took the survey are over 30, male and white and most of the surveys were taken in the 14609 zip code, which is the northeast corner of the city, bordering Irondequoit.

The survey included a section for written answers including a question that asked people for their recommended improvements. The report said, “The most common responses suggested disbanding, abolishing or defunding the Police Accountability Board.”