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Thursday 28 January 2021
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City Survey Asks Six Questions About Policing

Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan was named interim chief of the Rochester Police Department on Sept. 26, 2020 by Mayor Lovely Warren, right. File photo

Do you support having crisis intervention specialists rather than police respond to 911 calls related to mental health and addiction?

Should the city provide the interim police chief with resources to build relationships with the community?

Those are two of the six questions posed on an online survey designed to collect opinions about policing in Rochester. The survey is at cityofrochester.gov/policesurvey and will be active into at least early November.

The questions use general language to reference recent reform proposals. The choice of answers is yes, no or unsure. There is a space at the end to add comments. The survey is open to residents throughout the county. Respondents are asked to give the city or town where they live and the ZIP code.

It appears respondents can take the survey as many times as they want from the same web browser, which could skew results and it make it difficult for the city to know the number of unique respondents and their answers.

Mayor Lovely Warren and interim Police Chief Herriott-Sullivan announced the survey Oct. 20.

“Our goal is to begin a collaborative and open process to ensure that the future of policing is driven by our citizens,” Warren said in a news release. “This survey will help us gain an understanding of the community’s support for recent proposals to reform our police department and guide our efforts.”

One of the questions seems to reflect recent developments on the proposed Goodman Section and Southeast Neighborhood Service Center. In August, City Council voted to approve the issuance of bonds. But a month later, after Daniel Prude’s family announced his in-custody death, council reversed itself and put the funding on hold. The Goodman Section station was to be the first of five such offices that would bring police back into neighborhoods.

The proposed Goodman Section substation was put on hold in September 2020. File photo

A survey question asks: Do you believe community policing can be achieved without having specific municipal buildings in neighborhoods dedicated to policing efforts and other neighborhood initiatives?

According to the news release, additional outreach, community conversations and surveys will be conducted as reform efforts move forward.

“We understand that re-envisioning and restructuring our police department will require sustained effort and continued community involvement,” said Herriott-Sullivan. “However, we want to start getting feedback from our residents at the outset so we can begin to build the partnership and support it is going to take to create real change.”

Results from the survey will be made public and will be used in discussions regarding police reform.