County OKs cop plan; just 2 changes


By Patsy Nicosia

After five months of meetings and discussions that began in September of 2020 and finished up with a 471-page report, supervisors Friday went with just two changes to the Sheriff’s Office:
• The creation of a Citizens Collaborative Committee.
• The review of arrest data--once available—by the Sheriff’s Office and the CCC.
Supervisors unanimously adopted the Law Enforcement Review Committee recommendations Friday.
The conclusion felt flat for some of those who’d attended nearly all of the meetings.
At the LERCs final session—a public hearing last Tuesday—Rural Awakenings’ Pat Hults and Debbie Paden both called the five-page report summary comprehensive and accurate.
But they expressed frustration that it was more a list of bullet points than a plan for action. (See related story.)
“I’m a little disappointed that there aren’t more actions coming out of it,” Ms. Hults said.
“I did appreciate that it was a very sincere effort, but I think we missed an opportunity.”
Richmondville Supervisor Dick Lape, who chairs the Law Enforcement Committee and headed up the LERC, praised the Sheriff’s Office Friday “for doing a fine job teaching us what they do. We learned everything…about tasers, imminent danger…”
Ray Richards, the only citizen member of the LERC, agreed.
He also stressed the need to keep the conversation going.
“I don’t think most of us really understood what police officers go through,” Rev. Richards said.
“We want to support them…As we go forward, it’s important to continue these discussions so we can work together.”
As adopted, the Citizens Collaborative Committee—maybe with a different name—will meet quarterly to discuss law enforcement issues as they relate to the Sheriff’s Office.
Any findings or recommendations will be forwarded to the Law Enforcement Committee; if accepted there, they’ll be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for comments or adoption.
The CCC will include five citizen members appointed by supervisors to two-year terms, the Sheriff, and one member of the Law Enforcement Committee.
The Sheriff’s Office and the CCC will also review data collected by the court systems once it becomes available on the public websites of the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Office of Court Administration--but supervisors’ resolution recognizes that “the usefulness of the data will be subject to the quality and timeliness of what the state provides.”