The Woodstock Town Board created a contract with the Law Enforcement Consulting of New York State to help the department reform its policies and become an accredited agency. These ideas are long-term goals and recommendations of the state-required Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Committee (PRRCC).
“I think there are 133 points where we need different policies written up, and a lot of it has already been done. But some of it needs to be reworded, redone, touched up. So they would go through this, look at what other departments are accredited have done, what the accreditation calls for and start to rewrite policy,” Woodstock Town Supervisor Bill McKenna said.
The PRRCC was created with Executive Order 203 passed by Governor Cuomo. The order required all local police agencies to develop a plan that redesigns police strategies and programs based on community input. The goal of these actions was to reinvent local police departments and modernize policies to reflect the goals of the department.
These plans needed to be in place by April 1 if the department wanted to continue to receive funding from the state.
After a long period of social unrest surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice and biases rooted in police departments across the country, the Woodstock Police Department sought to weed out any problems in their department and reform them.
The Law Enforcement Consulting of New York State is an agency that helps police departments across New York State update and reform their policies and programs so they create a safe environment within the department and the community.
“In light of recent events in the country regarding law enforcement, it is more important now than ever before that a department has the most up-to-date police policy, a training program that meets accreditation standards, and sound administrative oversight,” their website reads. “If any one of the three is lacking or absent, the others will be rendered ineffective and the department will become vulnerable in many ways. With our service, there is no need for your department to conform to a generic and vague policy. We also have the ability to accommodate most any budget.”
The contract involves a payment of $65 an hour to the agency – however, this would only be paid if questions arise where the department needs guidance or answers. The bill will be paid monthly.
Concern over the cost of this program was raised, but McKenna assured the public that the price was under control.
“If the bill starts to get anywhere south of 700 bucks, 1000 bucks, whatever number you’re comfortable with, I’ll slow it down for that month, and then we can all, during vouchers, take a look at it and have and have another conversation,” McKenna said. “I’ll tell you that the chief’s (Clayton Keefe) number one reluctance to even have the meeting was he didn’t want to get saddled with some $10,000 or $20,000 contract to produce this. He’s very happy and content with this and is eager to move forward with it. We also feel that there may be other areas where he could actually assist us.”