Justice For All – Police reform plans are in, what’s next?
In the wake of George Floyd's murder and the nationwide protests it triggered, every police department in New York was ordered to submit reform plans to the state by April 1 or risk losing state aid.
Now that the deadline has come and gone, questions remain. How many plans were submitted? Who is in charge of making sure the measures outlined are put in place?
As of the end of May, state officials say The Division of the Budget (DOB) has received about 493 police reform plans, but that nine municipalities are still outstanding.
Attorney General Letitia James does have the power to appoint an independent monitor to oversee police departments that didn't comply with the executive order.
“At this point, our civil rights bureau is looking into those reform recommendations, and at this point in time, I cannot comment on whether we are looking into any particular municipality or jurisdiction in the state of New York,” said James when asked about the issue.
Police officials in some departments, like Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, say they went above and beyond in their changes and are already implementing reforms.
However, there is no deadline for when the reforms in the approved plans actually have to be put in place.
“There are certain things you can start right away,” says Vanessa Baird-Streeter, the co-chair of Suffolk's Police Reform Task force on Long Island. “But there are some things associated with collective bargaining. We will keep our task force together to implement the plan.”
Shanequa Levin with Long Island United For Police Reform and Community Safety says members of her group will be watching - and calling out politicians who don't keep their promises.
Levin says, “Do they really feel that black lives matter or what is just a trendy thing for our elected officials to do as well?”
Reporting and text by Eileen Lehpamer. Follow her on Twitter