NEW YORK- The New York Civil Liberties Union released today a new report that provides information on police functions and operations of the Greece and Irondequoit police departments. The NYCLU requested information on department diversity, police stops, low-level offense enforcement, use of force, and misconduct complaints.
While both police departments supplied many of the materials that were requested, there were still critical policies that were not provided. For instance, the Greece police department said no policies existed for bias-based policing, racial profiling, or interactions with persons with disabilities.
Further, some of the documents that the department provided lacked sufficient instruction for police officers. The Irondequoit police department provides procedural directions on when and how to conduct a traffic stop, but it fails to supply any legal standard of what might constitute a stop, giving officers broad discretion.
"Police departments, which give officers the power to stop, detain, and arrest people must have policies governing when officers can wield this power, must have policies with clear standards for how officers can wield this power, and it's alarming that basic policies that form the very bedrock of policing were either missing or vague," said Michael Sisitzky, Lead Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This raises serious questions about how much discretion police officers in these departments maintain.”
The NYCLU’s analysis of the policies of each police department revealed:
Greece Police Department
- In 2014, 81 people were stopped by the Greece police department. While Black residents accounted for 33 percent of those stopped, they accounted for only 6 percent of the town’s population.
- Twenty-two of the 134 complaints against police officers from community members were substantiated, but only 14 of those resulted in disciplinary action in the Greece Police Department.
- The department provided no information regarding diversity within its personnel ranks.
- The Greece Police Department reported 232 uses of force between January 2012 and May 2015. Of these, 33 percent resulted in the suspect sustaining an injury.
- Between January 2012 and May 2015, the Greece Police Department made 1,520 arrests for the low-level offenses of disorderly conduct, with most arrests being for 2nd Degree Harassment.
Irondequoit Police Department
- Between January 2012 and May 2015, the department stopped 52 people. Despite only making up 9 percent of the population, Black residents accounted for 38 percent of those stopped.
- As of October 2014, the police department had 51 sworn personnel. All members of the force were white except for one.
- The department reported 34 internal affairs investigations between January 2013 and June 2015, of which 55 percent resulted in exonerations or unsubstantiated findings.
- Between January 2012 and October 2015, the department filed 140 use of force reports. Of these, 51 percent resulted in the suspect sustaining an injury.
“The racial disparities in police stops reinforce that Black people have completely different experiences with the police than everyone else, said Iman Abid, Genesee Valley Chapter Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union.“The Irondequoit and Greece police departments must take intentional steps to address these disparities.”