The Amityville police station has proposed many reforms to its policies and procedures, including the use of body cameras and the posting of demographic data on traffic outages and arrests.
Police chief Bryan Burton discussed some of the proposed changes at the Zoom meeting on February 16. The reforms are in response to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive order, requiring all local police to develop a reform plan by April 1. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing state funds. The order was issued in widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, who died in May while in Minneapolis police detention.
The 11-member review committee has met eight times since late October. The committee consists of village and police officials, school board representatives, local churches and organizations such as the NAACP.
“We are really starting to rebuild a lot of policies from scratch,” Burton said at the meeting.
The agency has updated its strangler fig and crowd control policies, and police officers will undergo implicit bias awareness training, Burton said. To be more transparent, they use body cameras and the department now posts all arrest and car stop data, the use of force and civilian complaints online every other year.
Resident Katrina Conway raised the need to hire more police officers she described as African-American.Dorothy Santana of the Latina Mama Group urged the department to hire more female officers. According to police data, the department has 25 sworn members, all male and 91.3% white. There are two Hispanic police officers, one white and one black.
Mayor Dennis Silly said the ministry would step up recruitment activities, but one of the issues was the residence requirements for village officers. He said the village had given exemptions to existing police officers, but still stopped them because they believed it was important to live in the communities they serve. He said he was considering extending the residential boundaries to school district boundaries outside the village boundaries.
“April 1st will not be the end of what we are doing,” Siry said. “This is a never-ending work in progress.”
Village officials are asking residents to see the draft reforms and fill out a survey at Amityville.com. There will be another reform meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm and the hearing will be scheduled for 7:30 pm on March 8.