OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — According to Mayor Billy Barlow, the City of Oswego Police Reform and reinvention plan has received unanimous, bi-partisan support and approval from the Oswego Common Council.
The plan will now immediately be submitted to New York State.
The plan comes from a June 12 executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, requiring that every law enforcement agency should adopt a police reform plan by April 1, 2021.
In November of 2020, Barlow had created a six-member committee to vet the plan and in December, he presented the plan during a live, in-person and virtual meeting. The public comment period went from December through early January.
Barlow then brought the plan before the Administrative Services Committee for approval. During the public forum in December and the public hearing on Monday evening, the proposed plan and changes were met with support from the public and a 7-0 vote from the Oswego Common Council.
The Oswego community at large respects and appreciates the Oswego Police Department and law enforcement and want to know our city is well protected. That is why our police-reinvention plan is designed to bring our officers closer to the community, allowing officers to better know our community and the people we serve.
Our plan and new initiatives are thoughtful, balanced and designed to fit our community. I’m pleased to see our plan receive public support and unanimous approval from the Common Council and believe our plan, once fully implemented, will make our police department better, stronger and more prepared to serve our community than ever before.Mayor Billy Barlow
Here are some of the plan’s highlights:
- Incorporate mental health counselors to co-respond to mental health, crisis intervention calls
- Make annual anti-bias, de-escalation and minimization of force training mandatory
- Mandated minimum number of hours for department foot and bike patrols
- Launch HOPE initiative to combat homelessness and poverty
- Participate in Service to Aid Families to follow up on police interactions and service
- Partner with County DA Greg Oakes on Handle with Care program and childcare support
- Permanently assign an officer to community policing unit to coordinate with service groups
- Increase education and situational awareness training and implement Smart Technologies
- Implement regular Quality Assurance Surveys for department and individual officers
- Create a consistent policy and channel for citizen and internal complaints
- Publicize all OPD policies and procedures, including training, on the city website
- Update body camera system and expand policy to include entire department
The Oswego Police Department working in conjunction with local stakeholders has crafted a plan that will build on the progressive service provided to the Oswego community. Integration with local service providers and various groups will only help to strengthen the department’s relationship with the community. Under Mayor Barlow’s leadership, we look forward to implementing new training, technology and community policing programs.Chief of the Oswego Police Department — Phil Cady