Saturday 28 January 2023
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City Council President Says Police Accountability Legislation is a Work in Progress

Rochester City Council President, Loretta Scott

Rochester City Council President, Loretta Scott

By Staff –

The Rochester City Council along with stakeholders are working to develop a legislation that would create a Police Accountability Board. City Council released a working draft of an ordinance earlier this month.

The Police Accountability Board Alliance; Mike Mazzeo, the Rochester Locust Club President; and Frank Liberti, the CEO of the Center for Dispute Settlement all received a draft copy of the legislation.

However; the groups say the legislation is missing some key elements:
– An independent agency of city government, separate from the RPD.
– The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct.
– Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
– Disciplinary power
– The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.

“I understand that there are concerns being raised about the working draft that was distributed,” City Council President Loretta Scott said in a statement. “I want to reiterate to the Police Accountability Board Alliance, the Locust Club, the media and the community as a whole, this is not the final version.”

Scott says she hopes that the final legislation will establish a new, effective and transparent Police Accountability Board for the community.

“The Council provided working draft to allow everyone an additional opportunity to provide feedback and express concerns. After releasing the working draft to the parties the Council met as a group to review the working document and make any additional changes prior to submitting the legislation.

There has been concerns from citizens in the community that the Rochester Police Department is not held accountable when it comes to police misconduct. The issue came to surface recently after two RPD officers was accused of using excessive force on a citizen, Christopher Pate.

That incident eventually resulted in the suspension of the two officers; however, some residents say it was a welcome exception to case after case of police misconduct with no consequence to police officers.

Scott says City Council plans to submit legislation in October and will make it available to the public on the City’s website and in the City Council Office.

“The Council will hold multiple forums that will allow the community to provide input and suggestions,” she said.

Police Accountability Board Alliance and supporters plan to address their concerns with City Council Tuesday.

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