Medina’s Police Advisory Committee members learn from each other, seek public input

Photos by Tom Rivers: Medina’s Police Advisory Committee met Monday evening for its monthly session. Pictured from left include Heather Jackson, Donnell Holloway, Lt. Todd Draper, Chief Chad Kenward, Jovannie Canales, Debbie Fuller and Jessica Marciano. Other members include Sgt. Christian Navas, Mark Kruzynski, Danielle Figura and Jacquie Chinn.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2022 at 1:18 pm

MEDINA – About a year ago Medina finished a state-mandated plan for police reform. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo required all municipalities with police departments to seek community input and prepare a plan on police reform and collaboration.

Medina sent in the plan and in May abolished the 12-member committee that worked on the document and gathered public feedback.

Medina, however, formed a new Police Reform Committee that has been meeting monthly and continuing to review police policies and solicit input from residents. Some of the members have gone on ride-a-longs with officers.

The new committee is looking to implement goals from the reform and collaboration initiative. That includes community policing, training and responding to people in a mental health crisis.

The committee also is working with the Medina Police Department and other agencies in the county for the National Night Out, which will be Aug. 2 in Medina. That event had been at Bullard Park in Albion and was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. The event is a chance for residents to meet first responders and agency representatives, while also enjoying free food, K-9 demonstrations, a bike rodeo and other activities.

The committee wants to continue to hear from the public and has an email address – – for people to send in comments, concerns and suggestions. The email is handled by a non-law enforcement member of the committee.

Jovannie Canales, pastor of a church in Medina, speaks during Monday’s evenings Police Advisory Committee meeting. Canales recently went on a ride-a-long with the police and he said he saw officers engage community in a respectful and friendly manner.

Police Chief Chad Kenward and Lt. Todd Draper said they welcome two-way communication  between the public and the police department.

“It provides feedback to local law enforcement personnel that can be used in decision-making and also educates community members and creates transparency in our police department activities,” they said in a news release from the department.

Jessica Marciano, a village trustee, and Jovannie Canales, pastor of the Second Church True Disciples of Jesus Christ, are members of the committee and they each went on recent ride-a-longs. They said it was very informative.

Police officers shared how those driving haphazardly can be a sign of impairment. The officers stopped some motorists for taillights or headlights that didn’t work, but didn’t issue tickets, just a message to get them fixed.

Canales said officers try to connect with residents and build rapport.

“We went through the entire town,” he said about his ride-a-long. “This town is patrolled.”

Canales said the police officers are well regarded by most of the people he knows. He did say some members of the Hispanic community avoid being in the village because they don’t want any police contact that could result in them being deported.

Marciano was with an officer when one driver bolted out of a car and a chase ensued. She stayed back in the patrol car. After the person stopped running and was caught, admitting he made a mistake, the officer worked with the person to not have the vehicle towed.

Marciano attended the first public forum about the police reform initiative on Sept. 23, 2020. It was at the Medina Theater on Main Street. Marciano was a new resident to Medina and she felt inspired by the Police Department’s and the Committee’s serious effort at engaging the public in the process.

“I wanted to see how Medina would handle a historic moment and I left very impressed,” she said, recalling that meeting. “Medina is a ‘hear it and learn from it’ community, rather than trying to shut people down.”

The Medina Police Advisory Committee has 12 members and they include Kenward, Draper, Canales, Marciano, Danielle Figura (Orleans County Mental Health Department director), Debbie Fuller, Jacquie Chinn, Donnell Holloway, Heather Jackson, Mark Kruzynski (Medina school district superintendent) and Christian Navas, a sergeant with the Medina PD.

The committee expects to keep meeting well into the future. The frequency may go from monthly to quarterly.

Police officers have done demonstrations for the committee members, showing them tasers and spike strips. They go over procedures and other policies.

“They see the in’s and out’s,” Chief Kenward said. “It’s been helpful for them to see what we actually do.”