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PAB to Explain Budget Request, Take Questions About its Work

Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Conor Dywer Reynolds, executive director of the Police Accountability Board. Provided photo

The Police Accountability Board, which is asking for approximately $5 million in the upcoming city budget, has scheduled three public forums to explain their request and answer questions.

Forums are scheduled for 6 p.m. May 4, 6 p.m. May 11 and 5 p.m. May 16.

The forums will be livestreamed at facebook.com/rocpab and youtube.com/rochesterPAB. If you can’t observe in real time, you can email questions to pab@cityofrochester.gov.

The current PAB budget is $400,000.

The PAB said its $5 million request would give it $1 for every $20 spent on policing. The PAB cited Campaign Zero, a national police reform campaign, that claims the ratio is the “bare-minimum level necessary for adequate police accountability board funding.”

In its proposal, the PAB said funding between the curretn $400,000 and requested $5 million would mean “likely failure.” At that level, the PAB said it would take between 90 and more than 720 days to complete the average full investigation. It cited a statistic that between 17 percent to all investigations would last more than six months.

The budget proposal said $10 million would give the PAB the “best odds of success,” saying at that level it would take 45-60 days to complete the average full investigation and that 4 percent to 11 percent of investigations would take more than six months.

The PAB received $500,000 from the state for the upcoming fiscal year.

A quick guide to the document called the budget “an operational blueprint” for building the agency into “a national model for community-led policy oversight.”

The PAB said its $5 million request from the city would would cover:

  • Bureau of Officer Accountability that would handle complaints (31 staff and $2.27 million)
  • Bureau of Systemic Change that would handle oversight of the RPD, craft police policies and rules for behavior (12 staff, $887,000)
  • Bureau of Administration that would house the executive director, education and operations (13 staff, $969,000)

Other costs for services and non-personnel expenses were put at $850,000.

In the proposal, the PAB said it would receive between 400 and 480 complaints a year and investigate about 75%, or around 360.

However, data from the city showed there were 375 complaints from 2011 through 2019. The data is at www.cityofrochester.gov/PSSannualreports/.

The PAB still is awaiting a court decision on whether it will have discipline powers over police officers.