Suffolk Sheriff Begins Police Reform Listening Sessions As Nassau Submits Controversial Plan

Feb 16, 2021

Tuesday begins the first of two listening sessions this week for Long Islanders to weigh in on a state-mandated reform of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is expected to submit to county lawmakers this week her administration’s proposal on state-mandated police reforms.

Last summer, Governor Andrew Cuomo required every local police department in New York to adopt a plan to reform racial disparities in policing by April 1.

Cuomo said the future of state funding for police departments depends on those plans.

“You can't ignore the tension. Ignoring a problem will never solve the problem. That is true in life and that is true in society and that is true in government. So, put people at the table, let them vent their issues and they will vent, but then let's come to a collaborative and a consensus and let's move on,” Cuomo said.

Former members of a Nassau County task force submitted a plan that they call the “people’s plan” after Nassau Police submitted a plan without them.

Drafts of the plan have faced backlash from former members of a county task force who created a separate plan — called the “people’s plan” — when Nassau Police submitted a proposal without them.

Jackie Burbridge is with the Long Island Black Alliance.

“I have no idea if they're asking for an increase in the budget for training on this, in which case, for most of these areas, we'd really like to recommend any money, not only no increase, that that all gets invested in the community. And we would be looking to decrease the police footprint and reallocate this money to actual investment to address the root cause of criminalized behavior,” Burbridge said.

A 310-page draft of the Nassau Police’s proposal includes the wearing of body cameras, collecting racial data from traffic stops and requiring officers to complete more hours of anti-bias and de-escalation training.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is next to submit his reform plan to lawmakers.