PAB wants your input on police disciplinary “matrix”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Police Accountability Board is investigating 80 complaints against Rochester police officers. But it’s still not authorized to recommend any punishment. It can’t do it until they finalize their punishment chart and they can’t do that until it gets feedback from you.

The PAB calls it a disciplinary “matrix.” It’s not that complicated. At the top of the chart is a minor infraction with minor penalties. But once you start going down and across, it get serious.

READ MORE: Police Accountability Board now accepting complaints

” Everything an officer could do wrong is categorized one through five,” said Michael Higgins the PAB Chief of Policy and Oversight. 

The disciplinary matrix is a set of rules to help the PAB decide what discipline to recommend. It’s progressive: level one is an act with minimal negative impacts on the community and RPD and the punishment starts with training, counseling and maybe a letter in the officer’s file. But the chart goes down to level five.

“And for the most serious things, like committing a crime or using improper excessive force, the disciplinary matrix recommends you be terminated,” Higgins said.

This idea is a based in part on how police accountability boards in New York City and Denver do it. The PAB staff investigate complaints and makes a recommendations to the PAB. The board will use the matrix to come up with a recommended penalty.

“They make that recommendation to the police chief and the police chief can accept or reject those recommendations, but he’s required to explain why he accepts or rejects those recommendations,” Higgins said. 

Brean: “What do you think the community’s appetite is for police discipline right now?”

Higgins, PAB Chief of Policy and Oversight: “I think what underlies your question is it’s been a difficult time in the city of Rochester and is this a time to talk about police discipline? You know the Police Accountability Board is entrusted by the community and required by law to make a fair, equitable police disciplinary process. We’re not going to stop our work just because our city has challenges.”

If you want to send feedback on the draft, you can submit your comments:

  • Online at
  • By phone at 585-428-8852
  • By email at
  • By mailing your comments to 245 E. Main Street Rochester, NY 14604

You can read the complete draft here: