City of Geneva weighs changes, community engagement as it eyes police reforms

The City of Geneva says it’s ready to work with the community to find solutions to systemic racism, as it weighs possible changes to the way policing happens in the community.

“The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd highlighted racial injustices in our country’s systems. Organizational planning and implementation strategies that are grounded in community and government decision-making reflect the realities of the City of Geneva and are critical in moving forward,” the City said in a statement. “In light of the events that have stirred the Nation, we recognize that there are opportunities that exist for change in our community. The City of Geneva is in support of and committed to working collaboratively with the community to strengthen our relationship with the police department and the residents we serve. We support the Black Lives Matter movement, our community and our Police Department. We understand that this process will require difficult conversations and reflection on our organizational and community history; but we also realize that this is needed for our City to continue to serve our community.”

The City says it will comply with state orders to execute reforms over the next 9-12 months.

“The City will comply with Governor Cuomo’s police reform directives to adopt a plan developed by the City and the community together by April 1, 2021. (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-203-new-york- state-police-reform-and-reinvention-collaborative). Through the plan development process, we will work with our police department, city and state agency partners as well as our community residents and advocates as additional guidelines are developed to best tailor a plan to reflect our unique local needs, which is top priority,” they said. “One of our steps is to engage community members in strengthening police and community relations with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, through the Strengthening Police and Community Partners (SPCP) program (https://www.justice.gov/file/1059716/download).”

“We have identified ‘Strengthening Police and Community Partners (SPCP)’ program to support our police department and our community, which engages local law enforcement and community members in a dialogue to identify issues and solve problems collaboratively. The actions from these efforts and others can be incorporated in the plan that City Council will adopt by April 1, 2021 and will be submitted to the NYS Director of the Division of the Budget. Inclusive input is an integral part in creating city policy to help move Geneva forward. We encourage you to participate in this process,” the City continued.

Anyone interested in participating and providing input, should contact Erica Collins at ecollins@geneva.ny.us or 315-789-6104.