Medina approves members of committee for Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 August 2020 at 9:21 am

MEDINA – The Village Board approved 12 members of a committee that will be tasked with looking at police policies and determine if reform is needed in the Medina Police Department.

Daniel Doctor, Pastor Jovannie Canales, Mayor Michael Sidari, Jacquie Chinn, Lt. Todd Draper, Scott Robinson, Sherry Tuohey, Chief Chad Kenward, David and Cynthia King, District Attorney Joe Cardone and Public Defender Joanne Best all have been named to the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is requiring all 500 municipalities in the state that have law enforcement agencies to form committees with local elected officials, the police leaders and citizens and study the operations of the departments and determine if reform is needed.

The municipalities must adopt a plan by April 1, 2021 to be eligible for state funding. That plan could show that no changes are needed in the department.

“With more than 500 law enforcement agencies in our large and diverse state, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” Cuomo said last week. “To rebuild the police-community relationship, each local government must convene stakeholders for a fact-based and honest dialogue about the public safety needs of their community. Each community must envision for itself the appropriate role of the police. Policies must be developed to allow the police to do their jobs to protect the public and these policies must meet with the local communities’ acceptance.”

The committee needs to look at the following issues:

  • Review the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices;
  • Establish policies that allow police to effectively and safely perform their duties;
  • Involve the entire community in the discussion;
  • Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review;
  • Offer a plan for public comment;
  • Present the plan to the local legislative body to ratify or adopt it, and;
  • Certify adoption of the plan to the State Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021.

Police Chief Chad Kenward and Mayor Mike Sidari said they reached to a cross section of the community for the committee and have Black and Hispanic residents, senior citizens, representatives from the district attorney and public defender, the school, the business community, the Village Board and the police department.

One local resident spoke during Monday’s Village Board meeting and asked to be considered for the committee. Michael O’Keefe is a defense attorney and a village resident with a law office on Main Street.

He said police reform is needed. He has reviewed body camera footage from Medina police officers and from other nearby communities.

“I am seeing a consistent wrong,” O’Keefe said. “They are not performing their jobs.”

Chief Kenward said he and Sidari went with the guidelines in picking a representation from the community for the committee.

“I didn’t feel we needed three attorneys,” Kenward said.

Cardone, the district attorney, and Best, the public defender, are both attorneys.

O’Keefe said he brings a skill set that would be beneficial to the committee.

Village Trustee Owen Toale said if O’Keefe was on the committee someone else would have to be taken off.

“These are 11 people who are extremely well qualified,” Toale said. “They are vested in our community.”

O’Keefe can submit his concerns to the committee and speak out during a public hearing that is required before the plan is sent to the state, Village Board members said.

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