Southampton Town has established a Community Law Enforcement Review Committee to review policing procedures and develop the plan mandated in June by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to the killing of George Floyd.
The governor, by an executive order signed June 12, mandated every local government that has a police agency to perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices and, with community stakeholder participation and input, develop a plan to improve them. A public hearing on the plan is also required. The plan must be filed with the state by April 1, 2021.
The Southampton Town Board yesterday adopted a resolution to create the review committee.
“This is a mandate and at the same time a good thing to do,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said.
Southampton has been conducting an internal review of its policies and procedures for a few years, Schneiderman said. The review was initiated by Chief Steven Skrynecki upon his arrival in the town, he said. Under the new chief’s leadership, the town police department has done “a tremendous amount of outreach to minority communities” and has increased diversity within its ranks, Schneiderman said.
The supervisor said he will chair the committee, whose members will include representatives of the town board, the police chief and a lieutenant, the town attorney, representatives of the district attorney’s office and a public defender, James Banks, chair of Southampton’s Anti-Bias Task Force, and various community members, including Pastor Kieth Indovino of Blaze Church in Flanders, Minerva Perez of OLA of Eastern Long Island, Department, a representative of the Shinnecock Tribal Council, a representative of the Eastern Branch of the NAACP, and community organizer Lisa Votino, who has been involved in organizing many Black Lives Matter protests.
Voting attended the board meeting to thank the town for its leadership and support.
“Some other municipalities are screaming and dragging their feet — they don’t want to do this,” Votino said.
A Southampton Town resident, Votino said her organizing work the past several months has taken her to a lot of different jurisdictions “and by far the Town of Southampton has been the gold star.”
The committee will hold at least two town hall-style community listening sessions, Schneiderman said.
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