The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Improve police review board in Schenectady

Text Size: A | A

Schenectady’s Civilian Police Review Board has a problem with appointments. Some of the nonprofit agencies that are supposed to appoint a representative take a long time doing so, and as a result the board never has a full complement, sometimes not even a quorum. But that’s fairly easy to fix. The tougher nut is the board’s lack of power, a source of frustration to its members and the public alike. Here’s the fix for the ...

You Must or Subscribe to Continue
subscribe to the Daily Gazette
Individual stories can be found and purchased from our Archives for $2.00

Enjoy this story? Share it!



February 1, 2013
8:27 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Hard to have faith the PD can investigate itself? An assertion not based in fact.
Fact - Schenectady Police Department fired a dozen officers over the past several years. And, while the writer gives all credit to Mayor Stratton and the Commissioner, the fact of the matter is that it was a team effort to turn the PD around, from lower ranking officers all the way up to the Mayor's office, with the support of some outstanding legal work from the firm of Girvin and Ferlazzo. The Gazette editorial writer only credits the Mayor and Commissioner, perhaps because they would then have to give PD members credit for some of the reform efforts. Put another way, the Gazette Editorial Board would have you believe that reform can only happen due to external forces.
It is important to note, the officers who were terminated were removed from the agency using the old disciplinary system. Another fact the Editorial writer(s) seemed to overlook. But, the main point is that these cases demonstrated the PD has the ability and competence to police itself.

The NYCLU lawsuit did not pressure the police department to implement force reporting. The PD had already been working to implement that system. For some reason, someone in City government resisted the NYCLU's efforts to FOIL those documents. The problem was the PD had not implemented the system yet, so, the NYCLU FOILed documents that had not yet been in use.

It is reasonable for the Board to ask for some of the information; however, confidentiality is an important issue and, if memory serves, I seem to recall information from an E-Mail involving discussions between the PD and at least one member of the Board showing up in a Gazette article.

The suggestion that the Review Board has outlived its' usefulness is certainly one of the more wrong- headed ideas coming from an elected official. The nature of police work is challenging and can bring out the best and unfortunately, at times, the worst of the human beings who do that job. And because the police are a government agency with the power to impact citizens' rights - there has to be oversight.

The Board must stay in power. Whether they should have power more is something for the Board and the citizens they represent to decide. And, if they need information as to how to proceed, I think the NYCLU and others can serve as valuable sources of objective and thoughtful guidance. Unfortunately, thoughtfulness and objectivity were two criteria sorely missing from this "editorial".

I am a retired SPD member, but am confident of any facts presented in this letter.

February 1, 2013
10:31 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

reader1, it sounds like you are surprised at the bias from the Gazette concerning SPD. The only thing the Gazette wants to hear and report is the negative.

February 3, 2013
7:53 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I take each article or Editorial on its' own merit. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't.