Police Reform Task Force: Public Comment and Listening Session 2/24/21 at 7PM
POLICE REFORM TASK FORCE
Dear Cortlandt Residents,
Following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Governor Cuomo directed all communities with a police department across New York State to begin the process of reevaluating police and law enforcement issues with community input in an effort to improve emergency services in their communities.
While the Town of Cortlandt no longer has its own police department (after it was disbanded in the 1990s saving Cortlandt taxpayers millions of dollars), the people of Cortlandt sought to have their voice heard by Westchester County and New York State as those entities review public safety policies. Cortlandt’s public safety services are provided on a 24 hour basis by the New York State Police along with contracted services with Westchester County’s Department of Public Safety to supplement those State Trooper services for two shifts per day. Supervisor Puglisi appointed Councilman James Creighton to chair Cortlandt’s Police Task Force in October 2020, and a diverse committee made up of community residents (including community activists, former police officers, attorneys, educators and other concerned individuals) was impaneled shortly thereafter.
Beginning in November 2020, the committee began its work reviewing policing in Cortlandt with an eye toward improving emergency services provided by Westchester County and New York State. The Cortlandt Police Task Force Committee held a series of six public committee meetings (via Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic) and initially focused on recommendations set forth in Supervisor Puglisi’s summer 2020 draft report as a starting point for discussions. Members of the committee submitted their own recommendations for discussion, and members of the County and State Police were invited to join the committee meetings to answer questions. Some members of the Town committee including its chair Councilman Creighton also participated in the parallel Westchester County Police Reform & Reimagining Task Force to ensure that Cortlandt’s recommendations and inquiries were addressed.
In an effort to seek further public comment from the community, Cortlandt has scheduled a public comment and listening session for February 24, 2021 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Community members are encouraged to participate and residents may also email comments to PoliceReformTaskForce@townofcortlandt.com by February 28, 2021; the Task Force will review all comments and make any necessary changes to their recommendations prior to submitting a report to the Town Board in early March for adoption and submission by New York State’s April 1, 2021 deadline.
Councilman James F. Creighton