Tonight, Geneva City Council voted 6-3 to pass Local Law #1-2021: Local Law Amending the City Charter to Establish a Police Review Board.
Councilors Tom Burrall (Ward 1), Ken Camera (Ward 4), John Pruett (Ward 6), Jan Regan (Ward 3), and Laura Salamendra (Ward 5), along with Mayor Steve Valentino, voted in favor of the historic law.
The vote to pass the new law comes after two public hearings and seven months of discussions and changes to the original resolution that was passed on July 2, 2020. Resolution #34-2020: Resolution Establishing a Public Hearing for a Local Law Establishing a Police Accountability Board in the City of Geneva was authored by The People’s Peaceful Protest and presented by Ward 5 City Councilor Laura Salamendra.
Here is an outline of the PRB from the Finger Lakes Times:
• The PRB will have authority to review the Geneva Police Department investigations of public complaints of officer misconduct and to engage in other activities as defined in the law.
• The goals of the board are to reduce racial inequities in policing in the city, to assure accountability of GPD officers, to increase transparency of GPD operations, and to improve GPD credibility.
• The PRB may create and employ a disciplinary matrix in making recommendations to the police chief for discipline, subject to the applicable collective bargaining agreement and state law.
• The PRB should have the authority to assess GPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures, and make recommendations to improve its operations, based on information from a complaint investigation. The sole authority to discipline officers will remain with the police chief, under supervision of the city manager.
• The PRB will consist of nine members appointed by Council. Members will serve three years, except for the initial board, whose members will serve staggered terms.
• Members of the board must be residents of the city for a minimum of 12 months at time of appointment. Membership shall attempt to reflect the city’s diverse community, including, but not limited to, age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and source of income.
• The board will have no members who are current or former employees, or their immediate family members, of any law enforcement agency. Members also cannot be a current elected city official, or have served in that capacity within the past three years, or be an immediate family member of any incumbent elected state official, a practicing attorney, or their immediate family who represents or has represented a plaintiff or defendant in a police misconduct lawsuit within the past 10 years.
• Complaints may be made anonymously.