Law enforcement reform in the Ithaca area is up for discussion June 21.

The Tompkins County Sheriff’s office had scheduled a virtual public forum at noon on June 21 to give residents an opportunity to talk about elements of a pilot program for unarmed responses to certain public safety complaint calls.

According to the county, the program is looking at effectiveness and outcomes of unarmed responses as Sheriff’s Deputies have their time freed up to respond to emergency calls and handle investigations.  Directing lesser calls to other staff capable of providing appropriate response also allows Sheriff's Department officers a chance to interact with the community in relationship-building activities.

Townsquare file photo
Townsquare file photo
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Tompkins County’s Reimagining Public Safety efforts as mandated by New York State during the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 has Sheriff’s Clerks answering some calls placed to law enforcement.

As part of then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order 203, local law enforcement agencies across the state were directed in August of 2020 to come up with and adopt a police reform plan for their departments by April 2021 or risk losing state funding.

That 2020 directive from Governor Cuomo in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other negative interactions of minority community members and law enforcement required all local governments that operate a police department to “perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, and develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.”

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While the plans were submitted over one year ago, implementation is still being carried out as evidenced by the scheduled June 21, 2022 virtual forum.

The Tompkins County Sheriff's Department meeting is on zoom and registration is require. Here is a link to register for the noon June 21 session: https://tompkinscountyny-gov.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ei9FFLPxT1CP7EfV1rmCPA) and is being simulcast and archived on the Tompkins County YouTube channel.

Public information will be shared at the Reimagining Public Safety website at www.publicssafetyimagined.org.

KEEP READING: See changes enacted since George Floyd’s death

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