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Posted on: September 3, 2020

Police Reform - Final Public Input Session

Police Reform and Reinvention Collaboration

"It is the mission of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to serve the public with compassion, respect and courtesy while upholding the Constitution of the United States and enforcing the Laws of New York in order to protect the lives and property of all.  To serve as an example for others to follow and fulfill the oath of our chosen profession with integrity, honor and pride.  To hold ourselves to a higher standard without conceit with the goal to be a trusted community team member that preserves the rights and dignity of all and provides value to every  person in Madison County."

- Sheriff Todd Hood

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division is accredited by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  Of about 500+ police agencies in New York State, only about 150 are accredited.  Madison County Sheriff’s Office received their accreditation in September 2019. Accreditation provides formal recognition that the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division meets or exceeds general expectations in all operations (training, fiscal management, personnel practices, policies, and records management) and acknowledges the implementation of policies that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.

Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative

On June 12, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 203 requiring each local government in New York State to adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021.   The Order authorizes the Director of the Division of the Budget to condition State aid to localities on the adoption of such a plan.

The New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative asks local police agencies to actively engage with stakeholders in the local community and have locally-approved plans for the strategies, policies and procedures of local police agencies.  The plan must include the appropriate role of the police, but allow the police to do their jobs to protect the public.  Public input on the current relationship of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office with the community is welcome.  We asked for public comment so that we could learn from the community the current perspective of their relationship with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.  The public comment period was open until October 23, 2020. We also held an in-person public comment period on December 16, 2020 via Zoom.   Since then the Committee and the Madison County Sheriff's Office have taken into consideration the input they have received and a plan has been drafted.  

Madison County Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Draft Plan:

The Madison County Police Reform Committee and Madison County Sheriff's Office on February 12, 2021 released a draft reform plan.  The Plan focuses on a few areas where the Sheriff’s Office will make changes or has implemented new polices.  After hearing from the members of our committee and residents we know one of the major areas of focus was mental health.  The Sheriff’s Office over the next three years is committed to having all of its full-time deputies receive Crisis Intervention Training.  CIT trains officers on how to handle emotionally disturbed individuals in a variety of situations in the community.  Another focus of mental health is a call diversion policy put together by the Madison County Mental Health Department and 911, this will begin in March 2021. 

The Sheriff’s Office also puts in the plan that they will look into purchasing a new records management system that makes it easier to produce reports on date and demographics.  Also, the Office will report monthly to the  Madison County Criminal Justice, Public Safety & Emergency Communications Committee on complaints that are filed and their outcome. 

Two virtual public comment periods have been held to offer the community a chance to share their comments on the plan. For those that have not had a chance to speak, a final public comment period will be held virtually on the plan, which can be found here.  The comments will assist the committee in finalizing the plan.  If you would like to attend the final public comment period, please email policereform@madisoncounty.ny.gov for the Zoom link.

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6:00 PM - Here is the YouTube video of the public comment session https://youtu.be/g69vp6sd9vs
Friday, February 19, 2021 at 12:30 PM - Here is the YouTube video of the public comment session https://youtu.be/sg5beheYtIM
Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 6:30 PM - Final session for new public comments.

If you were not able attend the public comment sessions, you can also submit comments via email at policereform@madisoncounty.ny.gov or mail to P.O. Box 635, Wampsville, NY 13163.  Comments will be accepted until March 1, 2021.

Thank you to all who have worked hard with us to draft this plan.  The Sheriff’s Office mission is “to serve the public with compassion, respect and courtesy while upholding the Constitution of the United States and New York State, and enforcing the Laws of New York in order to protect the lives and property of all.” This mission can only be achieved by always looking for ways to improve and adapt policies. This draft plan is a reflection of once again the Madison County Sheriff's Office improving upon the great work of our men and women in law enforcement.  

Public Comment Period Part 1 Recap:

  • The Madison County Sheriff's Office solicited public comments via mail and online from September 15 to October 23, 2020.  We received 44 comments from Madison County residents as well as a submission from the Hamilton Area Anti-Racism Coalition. On October 30, 2020, the Police Reform Plan Committee held a meeting to review some of the questions and concerns brought up. The Madison County Sheriff's Office and the Committee want to took this opportunity to educate the Madison County community on some of the agency's practices, policies and collaborations.  
  • Public Comments submitted during Public Comment Part 1
  • Public Comments submitted by members of Hamilton Area Anti-Racism Coalition
  • The Committee has put together Frequently Asked Questions document to answer and address some of the questions and concerns raised in the comments. 

Public Comment Period Part 2:

Madison County Sheriff's Office and Madison County Board of Supervisors hosted an online public comment forum on December 16, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM via Zoom.  Due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in our community, this public comment period was held via Zoom as the safest way for members of our community to express their comments. Here is a link to that public comment meeting: https://youtu.be/U-zjws_0VQ4..

If you would like to submit a comment you can either email it to policereform@madisoncounty.ny.gov or mail it to:  

Madison County Board of Supervisors
138 N. Court St.
PO Box 635
Wampsville, NY 13163

Police Reform Plan Committee:

Members:

  • Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood
  • Madison County Administrator Mark Scimone
  • Madison County Attorney Tina Wayland-Smith
  • Georgetown Supervisor Pete Walrod, Chairman of the Criminal Justice, Public Safety and Emergency Communications Committee
  • City of Oneida Supervisor Mary Cavanaugh, Chairwoman of Government Operations Committee
  • Captain William Wilcox, Madison County Sheriff’s Office
  • Rev. Mick Keville, Crossroads Community Church
  • Chris Lewis, Chairman of the Board at Oneida Baptist Church and Inmate Counselor at Madison County Jail
  • Pastor Jeff Leahy, Church on the Rock
  • Madison County Assistant District Attorney Robert Mascari
  • Dave Desantis Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney and Representative of Public Defenders Office
  • Teisha Cook, Director of Madison County Mental Health
  • Brian Frank, NP with Madison County Mental Health & Madison County Jail
  • Mary Margaret Zehr, Superintendent of City of Oneida School District
  • Madison County Public Information Officer Samantha Field

Press Releases:

September 15, 2020 - MC Sheriff's Office seeks public comment on police reform plan

December 1, 2020 - MC Sheriff Announce 2nd Public Comment

Resources:

NYS Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Resource Guide

Madison County Sheriff’s Mission

Madison County Sheriff’s Use of Force Policy

Madison County Sheriff’s Annual Reports

Data Driven Approaches to Crime & Traffic Safety

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