STEUBEN COUNTY, NY (WETM) – In today’s State of the State Address, Governor Andrew Cuomo praised the efforts Steuben County’s community officials are making regarding safety and police reform.
Back in June, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order mandating police reform plans be put in place in each county following the outcry stemming from the death of George Floyd.
“Now, I have said that each community must redesign public safety in a collaborative process. In Steuben and Ulster County, citizens and officials are using listening sessions and surveys to increase participation,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard said that working with the community on the police reform has been an “opportunity of a lifetime.”
Allard said that representatives from over 60 groups participated in creating the police reform, including members of the LGBTQ + community, the Hispanic community, the African American community, and religious leaders in the area.
“The feedback from the citizens is that, ‘we don’t really know what the police do, and we don’t really know how they do it or why they do it the way in which they do it,'” Allard said. “And a lot of the calls were for transparency and education.”
In response, they are adding an online version of their citizen academy. They are assigning a deputy resident to be a conduit between the sheriff’s office and the different townships, villages, and cities in the county. They will be hosting information gatherings every month throughout the county to allow the community to share what they do and don’t like with the local law enforcement.
“It was very gratifying to to be able to interact with people that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to interact with and gain knowledge and hold a mirror to what we do,” Allard said. “I am very excited that it is almost done, and that we can get onto the real work of implementing, but it is nice that our work was not lost in the shuffle.”
The County Legislature votes on the plan at it’s January 25th meeting.