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Letter: ACLU Backs Police Review Legislation in Albany (Albany Times-Union)

To the edtior:

The New York Civil Liberties Union Capital Region Chapter strongly supports the new legislation proposed by Dominick Calsolaro and Barbara Smith that would require city police to inform the Albany Citizens’ Police Review Board when there are multiple complaints filed against an individual officer (“Council moves to boost police panel,” April 1).

The citizen review board was created to promote trust between police officers and citizens to assure accountability of the department. The proposed legislation would provide the board with a comprehensive understanding of the officers in the police department and would enable the board to better identify patterns of behavior. This provides an early warning system that would aid the department in realizing which officers would benefit from additional training or counseling.

This legislation will in no way affect officers who are committed to providing safe communities, but will simply give the review board a chance to hold officers to the highest level of accountability.

A police force that is accountable and responsive not only creates safer neighborhoods, it also creates safer conditions for its own officers as citizens grow to trust and cooperate with the police who serve them.

The NYCLU urges swift implementation of the legislation recommended by Smith and Calsolaro. With greater ability to monitor police behavior, the Citizens’ Police Review Board will be better able to help build a strong and respected police department.

Melanie Trimble
Director, Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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