Justice Dept. weighs in on Yonkers PD probe

A federal investigation into the Yonkers Police Department isn't over yet, but the U.S. Justice Department released a report Friday recommending several improvements within the department.

The two-year probe stems from reports of police brutality and discrimination within the force. Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone says the report vindicates the department's conviction that it doesn't have systemic problems.

"Nothing in that report confirms that there are any civil rights violations of any kind in the police department," Amicone says.

The Justice Department recommends updating training and officers' manuals, which the report calls outdated and poorly organized, defining the use of force policy and providing clear guidelines for the use of firearms. It also suggests the department incorporate more diversity training and recruit more minorities.

Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett says some of the recommendations have already been implemented, while others are in the process of review.

"This report should not be construed as an indictment of this department as a whole, or individual officers," Hartnett says.

The report points out that there have been numerous complaints about discourteous police officers in Yonkers. Overall, however, Hartnett says the relationship between the public and the police force is a positive one.

A final report is expected to be released after the Justice Department reviews individual complaints of excessive force.

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For news conference about feds? report on Yonkers Police Department probe, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Ch. 612.

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