Suffolk County announced the formation of a task force Wednesday to develop a comprehensive plan that will examine the current policies and procedures of local law enforcement.
Under the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered local governments to develop the plans in June after a series of demonstrations around the country over the videotaped death of a man who was pinned to the ground by police in Minneapolis.
Several Huntington-connected residents were named to the group, including former Town Board member and NAACP Long Island Regional Director Tracey Edwards, who had called out Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone earlier this week for lack of progress on the task force; Vanessa Baird-Streeter, deputy county executive; Suffolk County Legislature Majority Leader William “Doc” Spencer; Girish Patel of the BAPS Hindu temple in Melville; Jennifer Leveque, Huntington Leaders of the New School; and Legislator Tom Donnelly, as well as:
- Jon Kaiman, Deputy County Executive
- Retha Fernandez, Suffolk County Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
- Geri Hart, Suffolk County Police Department Commissioner
- Risco Mention-Lewis, Suffolk County Police Department Deputy Commissioner
- Stu Cameron, Suffolk County Police Department Chief of Department
- Errol Toulon, Suffolk County Sheriff
- Tim Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney
- Presiding Officer Rob Calarco
- Minority leader Tom Cilmi
- Legislator Jason Richberg
- Legislator Sam Gonzales
- Noel DiGerolamo, President, Suffolk PBA
- Theresa Saunders, President, Urban League of Long Island
- Christina Vargas, Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator Suffolk Community College
- Daniel Russo, Administrator, Assigned Counsel Defender Plan of Suffolk County
- Rev. Charles Coverdale, First Baptist of Riverhead
- Bishop Andy Lewter, Hollywood Baptist Cathedral
- Kathleen King, Chair Suffolk County Native American Advisory Board
- Pastor Angel Falcon, Faith Alive Ministries
- Sister Sanaa Nadim, Chaplain, Islamic Society of North America
- Cindy Reide Combs, LMSW
- Serena Liguori, Executive Director, New Hour for Women & Children
- Rabbi Abe Rabinovich, Kings Parks Jewish Center
- David Kilmnick, President and Chief Executive Officer, LGBT Network
The task force will solicit input from individuals and organizations across the county, donducting eight virtual public outreach meetings as well as one-on-one meetings.
“Over the last few years we have made real progress in diversifying our police force and building community trust by embracing and instituting a number of reforms, but we know our work isn’t done,” Bellone said. “The development of the comprehensive policing plan, with direct input from the community, will help us build upon the progress we have made and implement strategies that will improve policing. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to create positive change that will enhance community policing and strengthen the relationship between all of our diverse communities and those who patrol our communities.”
The community outreach meetings will be organized around the seven precincts in the Suffolk County Police District.
- The eighth meeting will focus on the East End where the Suffolk County Police Department works closely with Town and Village Police Departments. The jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office extends throughout the County.The County is committed to ensuring that every voice that wants to contribute to this process can be heard. Individuals without access to a reliable internet connection or those with language access needs should call Suffolk 3-1-1. In addition to the public outreach meetings, residents will also be able to submit written comment as part of the process to [email protected]. Cuomo’s order requires municipalities across the state to adopt a policing plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for future state funding.