DeWitt Police Chief Chase Bilodeau speaks to NewsChannel 9 ahead of public comment session Thursday

Local News

DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The DeWitt Police Department is holding a public comment session to give the community their first chance to express their ideas on reforming policing policies on Thursday, September 24. 

The public comment session is scheduled to take place at the Town of DeWitt Court Room at 6:30 p.m. Social distancing protocols will be in place, and masks must be worn at the meeting.

NewsChannel 9 brought DeWitt Police Chief Chase Bilodeau onto the show on Wednesday to talk more about the public comment session. 

You can watch the full interview in the video above, or read the transcript below:

NEWSCHANNEL 9 ANCHOR CHRISTIE CASCIANO: The governor is mandating local governments adopt a policing reform plan by next April, or risk losing state funding. One of the provisions of your department’s plan include providing body cameras for officers. Do you want all officers to be equipped with them?

DEWITT POLICE CHIEF CHASE BILODEAU: We purchased enough body cameras so that every officer who is on patrol shift can wear one while they are working. We won’t initially assign one for every officer, but it’s like taking out a car, you come in, log the body cam out, take it out for the day, then log that video in at the end of your shift. So, every officer working patrol every day will have one.

CASCIANO: And what kind of value do you think that adds to policing and for the public to trust you more?

BILODEAU: I think it’s both. I think the officers are really calling for it, they want the public to see their activity and know they are doing the right thing, for their own safety are calling for that transparency and as well for the public. They want to view interactions and know they were performed professionally and appropriately.

CASCIANO: What kind of reforms should be made to address police use of force?  Should clear disciplinary consequences for officers using excessive force be created?

BILODEAU: I think you have to look at three things with use of force: you have to look at policy, training and culture. Does the department have the right policy in place? Are they following model policies in regards to appropriate use of force? When to use it? How to use it? And then you look at training, are the departments training officers appropriately on things like lateral head displacement, side techniques in order to give people the ability to breath once they are taken into custody, or you give combative subjects the best likelihood to brief, is the department training appropriately? And then the culture of the department, is the department holding the officers accountable?

CASCIANO: The public will get a chance to offer ideas and recommendations for police reform. What do you want to hear from people? 

BILODEAU: I’d like them to really take a look at the plan. This is really the beginning of our plan and response to executive order 203. I want them to actually take a look at the things we are proposing, the body cams, the trainings we want to do, the statistics we want to keep, and then I want them to offer any incites that they have on what they think are good ideas we haven’t thought of yet, we haven’t explored yet. It’s two-fold, I want to get into the nuts and bolts of what are the things the citizens of DeWitt want from our police force. You can make a lot of broad terms like we want equity, professionalism, things like that, but what are the actual data points you want us to keep? What will interactions look like when police respond? How do you want us to respond? And the very specifics of the details, so that we can train our officers appropriately.

DeWitt Police Department’s initial plan on police reform:

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