people standing at podium

Task Force formed by County Executive George Latimer, made up of law enforcement, attorneys and key community stakeholders, seek to implement positive reform. The report now goes to Board of Legislators for approval.

You may also go to YouTube to watch the full briefing.

Read the full report.

Following a historic year shining the light on long standing injustices in our nation, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced the formation of the Westchester County Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force in early June. After seven months of intensive collaboration his task force is now issuing the report required by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203.

Latimer said: “What we saw this past year, similar to what I lived through as a young man in the 1960s, was a breaking point in our society. It is on us in government to now act. It became clearer than ever – following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others – that real reform must occur. It also must occur with all stakeholders at the table. I believe this task force has done admirable work toward that goal and I thank them all for their service. The County Department of Public Safety has already instituted multiple policies – such as police body cams – and we will work to do more.”

The task force, chaired by prominent Westchester residents Mayo Bartlett, Esq. and Leroy Frazer, Esq, was comprised of County and local Law Enforcement professionals, clergy representatives, criminal justice and police reform advocates, human rights professionals, and public servants to develop a blueprint for new policing strategies and to highlight policies currently in place by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety (WCDPS). 

The task force formed six working groups: Community Engagement, Qualification and Recruitment, Training and Equipment, Policies and Procedures, and Accountability and Transparency. Following its extensive work - which included public hearings, countless work sessions and insightful discussion on the serious issues at hand – the task force released a report organized in three main sections: 1) Background and structure of this task force; 2) Reports detailing the work, process, recommendations and overall findings; and 3) a description of the fifty-one recommendations organized based on the level of government to which they must be referred for action - opportunities for administrative action by the County Executive, recommendations for the County’s Board of Legislators, and recommendations for action by New York State.

Bartlett said: “It has been a pleasure working with the members of the Westchester County Task Force. We engaged in open and honest dialog concerning police reform, as well as the effort to reimagine what we believe the policing profession should be. We were fortunate to have the full support of County Executive George Latimer, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, and many members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. We were also appreciative to have had true partners from the County’s law enforcement community, who provided us with their ideas concerning the challenges faced by law enforcement as well as some of the success that we were sometimes not aware of.  It is my sincere opinion that all of the members of the Task Force were interested in implementing best practices, and strengthening the relationship between police and the community.  Perhaps most impressive was the thoughtful and considerate manner with which the work of the Task Force was conducted. While I believe we have been successful in identifying areas where WCDPS may improve, we also reached the determination that our work will not be complete following our report. For that reason, it is clear to me that we must continually review models of policing to ensure that law enforcement may properly serve the community.”

Frazer said: “The recommendations contained in this report represent countless hours of research and hard work by dedicated individuals seeking to bridge the gap between the community and police while maintaining public safety.  It is my fervent desire that readers will see the excellent policies and procedures that our County police have in place and envision acceptable ways of insuring transparency and accountability.”

Westchester County Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gleason said: “I would like to thank the members of the Committee for their hard work over the last six months. I look forward to receiving the final report and reviewing its recommendations for our Department and the broader law enforcement community.”

The fifty-one recommendations originated from the six working groups created within the Police Reform and Reimagining Task Force. Thirty of the thirty-eight members of the Task Force formally voted on each of these recommendations at their Jan. 12, 2021 meeting.

Among the recommendations:

New actions taken by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services such as:

The report will now go to the Board of Legislators for their review and legislative action.  In addition, following guidelines from the Governor’s Executive Order 203, this plan will be posted for public comment and a final version will incorporate public comments received. Once the plan is adopted by the BOL, Latimer will complete the Certification Form and submit the certification and a copy of the plan to the Director of the New York State Division of the Budget on or before April 1, 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings were held virtually through WebEx and open to the public. View recordings of the meetings on the County’s YouTube channel.

Information on the Task Force is otherwise consolidated Police Reform Task Force.

Members of the Task Force, chaired by Bartlett and Frazer, included:

Staff liaisons included: