The People’s Peaceful Protest has issued a statement in response to Local Law 1-2020 released by the City of Geneva for the public hearing on 9/23/20.
For the past several months, the People’s Peaceful Protest has been researching, educating about, and advocating for a Police Accountability Board (PAB) in Geneva that would be independent of the Geneva Police Department (GPD), be able to conduct independent investigations with the subpoena power necessary to collect evidence and testimony, review police procedures, policies, patterns, and practices, and be involved in the disciplinary process. Because this type of PAB will enhance the transparency and accountability of the GPD, it will improve community-GPD relations and protect both residents and police in Geneva. The call for a PAB originated with Geneva residents and over the last few months many residents have expressed their support for a PAB.
The PPP supports Local Law 1-2020 to establish a PAB in Geneva that effectively provides accountability and enhances transparency of the GPD while being legally sound. The local law incorporates both the five pillars necessary for a successful and effective PAB and input from the community, City Council, and the GPD.
- Independent of the police department – Members of the PAB will be chosen by the City Council, the Mayor, and the Community Compact. Membership of former law enforcement employees or their families is limited. All complaints of misconduct will be initiated with the PAB, and the PAB will report to the public on the numbers of complaints received and the decisions reached.
- Independent investigation – Although the GPD will conduct the initial investigation of any complaint, the timeframe for this investigation is limited to 30 days. After the GPD investigation is complete, collected evidence will be turned over to the PAB, which has the authority to conduct additional investigations, if they deem it necessary.
- Subpoena power – When carrying out additional investigations or in its review of police procedures, policies, patterns, and practices, the PAB has the power to subpoena necessary testimony and evidence.
- Review police procedures, policies, patterns, and practices and make recommendations – The PAB will conduct at least annual reviews and submit recommended changes to the Police Chief, the City Manager, and the City Council. Similarly, the PAB may recommend a disciplinary matrix to support the implementation of standardized, predictable discipline for GPD officers. The Chief has the final say in implementing these recommendations, but must explain the choice to reject recommendations from the PAB.
- Role in discipline – The Chief retains the power to choose and implement discipline for GPD officers. However, the PAB will recommend discipline and if the Chief chooses not to implement the recommendations of the PAB, an explanation of that decision is required. Since the Chief’s written explanations of discipline will be public, there is effective accountability and transparency.
The PPP would like to thank the City Council, the Mayor, and other City employees and community members for all of the hard work they have invested in writing and revising this law, and the PPP looks forward to taking this next step towards making our great City safer and more welcoming for all residents.
The People’s Peaceful Protest