Police Reform and Collaboration Draft Report
In compliance with NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, issued on June 12, 2020, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative for the Town of Crawford has developed the following plan for the Town of Crawford Police Department. This plan includes a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities being served. The executive order requires each local government to adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021.
A comprehensive plan is also to be reviewed by community stakeholders who will provide input in areas of evidence based policing strategies to include, but not limited to: policies, procedural justice, implicit bias awareness training, de-escalation training, law enforcement assisted diversion programs, community based outreach, and problem-oriented policing.
Once this plan has been created in conjunction with community stakeholders, it shall be offered for public comment to all citizens in the locality.
Upon completion of the review and comment, the plan will be presented to the local legislative body to be ratified and adopted by local law or resolution.
On June 12, 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 203 requiring each local government in the State to adopt a policing reform plan by April 1, 2021. The New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative guidance issued in August 2020 provided a path to local governments in initiating a dialogue to determine the current status of their municipal police department and to develop and plan the implementation of policies which will build police-community relationships, and which reflect the community’s vision for the role of the police.
Crawford Supervisor Charles Carnes appointed a panel of community stakeholders to review the present practices of the Town of Crawford Police Department.
The Panel members are as follows:
- Supervisor Charles Carnes
- John Boyle
- William Bacon
- Gail Jeter
- Robert Sassi
- Marisol Burgoos
- Brenda Otto
- Robert Conflitti, Orange County District Attorneys’ Office
Orange County Legal aid was invited and did not respond.
PANEL MEETINGS AND PUBLIC COMMENT:
The Panel met on three occasions to discuss the department and Executive Order 203.
- The first meeting was held on January 19, 2020:
- Panel members were introduced
- Purpose and scope of process was discussed
- Chief Blasko made a presentation on the department.
- An email address was set up firstname.lastname@example.org to encourage public comment
- Multiple social media posts were made encouraging public input.
- A code red call went out to residents with email encouraging input.
- A second meeting with the Panel was held on February 24, 2021 to engage discussion on the process
- A public hearing was held on February 25, 2021
- Follow up Panel Meeting
- Draft report written and sent to Panel for input and review
- Draft report published
- Continuation of Public Hearing
- Final report presented to the Town Board for approval.
History of the Town of Crawford Police Department
The Town of Crawford Police Department was established in April of 1971. The department was initially all part time and replaced the Town’s Constables. In 1976 because of growth in the community the Town appointed its first full time officer. Over the years the Town has continued to grow and the department has appointed additional full and part time police officers to assist with the protection of life and property.
The position of Chief of Police is a civil service position and is appointed by the Town of Crawford Town Board. The Chief serves as the chief law enforcement officer for the Town. The Chief has the responsibility to manage the police department to ensure appropriate police services are provide to the Town. In the fifty year history there have been 4 police chiefs. Joe Grosi was the first police chief, followed by Peter McCann. Daniel McCann was the first full time police officer and later became the first full time police chief. Chief McCann served as police chief for 33 years. The Current Chief is Dominick Blasko who has served in that position since 2012. Chief Blasko has been a member of the department since 1993. Chief Blasko, a Pine Bush High School graduate, has a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and is graduate of the 238th Session of the FBI National Academy.
The Mission of the Town of Crawford Police Department is to secure for the people of the Town of Crawford the conditions that will bring about and sustain the full measure of the benefits of citizenship in a democratic society of laws by safeguarding life and property, preserving the peace, preventing and detecting crime, enforcing the law, and protecting the rights of all citizens.
The Crawford Police Department shall provide the finest and most professional police department to the residents of and visitors to the Town. We will work in unison with the community and other law enforcement agencies. We shall demand of ourselves the highest standards of honesty and integrity as we uphold all laws for which we are responsible.
We are committed to preventing crime and protecting life and property; preserving peace, order and safety; enforcing laws and ordinances and safeguarding constitutional guarantees. We recognize that our employees are our most valued assets and we recognize that diversity is strength.
By utilizing the most extensive education and technology available, the Crawford Police Department will faithfully serve the people of the Town of Crawford to the best of our ability with steadfast honor.
Human Life – We value human life as our most precious resource.
In all aspects of our operations, we place our highest priority on the protection of life. This belief is manifested in two ways. First, the allocation of resources and the response to demands for service must give top priority to those situations, which threaten life. Second, even though society authorizes the police to use deadly force, the use of such force must not only be justified under law, but must be consistent with the philosophy of rational and humane social control.
Public Trust – We value the public’s trust.
Citizens, having given up their right to enforce their rights, have invested in their police, their highest level of trust. We, in turn, entered into a contractual agreement with society to uphold that trust. We recognize expectations that we are competent; will abide by Constitution and law; will not abuse our power and will not use our offices for personal or private gain. The manner in which we treat our citizens, our conduct and actions, both individually and collectively are based upon the high value we place on the public’s trust.
Integrity – We value our integrity.
We understand that each of us represents not only our Department but also the law enforcement profession and government. We are committed to uphold our positions of trust by maintaining the highest ethical standards and demonstrated practices and policies forged by consideration of morally relevant reasons. We acknowledge and accept that our individual conduct, both on and off duty, must be beyond reproach. Our conduct is the same, even when no one is watching.
Professionalism – We value professionalism.
We are committed to professionalism in all aspects of our operations. Our role is to serve our citizens. We acknowledge that as a professional organization, we must police ourselves. We therefore subscribe and agree to maintain a system to promote the highest level of discipline among our members.
The Town of Crawford Police Department consists of three main divisions: Administration, Patrol and Communications. This comprehensive review will encompass all of these divisions to ensure a transparent and consistent process.
The Administration consists of the Office of the Chief of Police and it is Responsible for the overall management and operations of the Crawford police Department 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The duties of the Chief include
- Overseeing an annual budget
- Hire and train personnel on a regular basis.
- Worked directly with a Supervisor and Town Board.
- Responsible for reviewing daily reports, implementing safety and security plans, grant procurement and management.
- Work as a direct liaison with a diverse community.
- Conduct regular evaluations of policies and procedures and amended them as needed as laws, agency priorities and community input was considered.
- Work with community groups such as School District, Chamber of Commerce’s, business groups and many more and communicate regularly with them as well as guide them on crime prevention methods.
- Manage and supervise Dog Control and Crossing Guards
Patrol is comprised of Patrol, Investigations, Juvenile, School Resource Officers and Specialty Units. The Patrol Division is the most visible component of the police department.
There are a total of 26 sworn police officers working within the
Department. All Crawford Police Officers conduct some patrol function.
Out of the 26 sworn members, 2 hold the rank of sergeant and 23 hold the rank of police officer.
- 2 full time sergeants supervise and report to the Chief
- 13 police officers are assigned to patrol functions (6 Full time 7 part time)
- 7 assigned are School Resource Officers (1 full time and 6 part time)
- 1 assigned to investigations (1 part time assisted by full time staff)
- 2 assigned to traffic ( 2 part time officers)
Patrols are deployed based on several factors. For officer safety and contractual purposes, each shift must deploy a minimum of two patrol cars. If more cars are available, they can be deployed to busy service areas or utilized for special assignments. Additional cars are assigned to areas where there are a larger number of calls for service which require additional manpower to handle.
The Town of Crawford Police Department collaborates with the State Police and other agencies when necessary to increase patrol presence.
Currently patrol officers investigate cases assigned to them with assistance from officers assigned to investigations. Officers assigned directly to investigations are responsible for background and proactive investigations along with assisting patrol.
The department utilizes the vast experience and training of its officers to investigate crimes ranging from Burglaries to homicides.
Officers are trained and certified in investigations, crime scene technicians, and digital forensic investigations.
While the department is certified, experienced and capable, they still work in conjunction with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Additionally there is a member assigned to FBI Hudson Valley Safe Streets. (HVST). HVST is a task force that is comprised of highly trained investigators whose primary role is to address drug and violence problems throughout the Hudson Valley. HVST also employs members of partnering local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
School Resource Officer
The department also deploys School Resource Officers (SRO) to the 4 Pine Bush Central school district schools in the Town of Crawford. These specially trained officers are responsible for ensuring the safety of all the school children. Initially, SROs were deployed in the wake of mass school shootings throughout the country in an effort to provide additional safety measures. Their original role has grown a great deal over the years. These officers spend a great deal of time with the children and often assist teachers with classroom presentations. These unique positions give police officers the opportunity to engage not only with the students, but with parents as well. They are able to work closely with teachers and administrators in these buildings to develop conflict resolution strategies. They remain proactive in keeping school children on the correct path and offer early intervention solutions. They are not involved in school district disciplinary action but rather try to encourage positive behaviors with the children. In addition to the SROs on the campus, police officers on patrol routinely perform checks of the school and stop by periodically to interact with students and faculty.
The department does not have a dedicated officer to community policing. Utilizing a collaborative effort with the Town and Town of Crawford Police Benevolent Association they provide numerous community policing events.
The department takes great pride in working directly with the community they serve. The officers attend many events throughout the town. They assist with car seat installations, various education programs and other important functions. The department coordinates many events and rarely say no to any request made by the community. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they were responsible for coordinating a food drive and the many birthday parade requests.
When the weather breaks expect to see officers patrolling on bicycles. Some members are certified bike patrol officers also. Bicycles allow us the opportunity to patrol around the hamlets and parks as well as the awesome walking trail.
Officers also receive training on the operation of RTVs. The department uses the RTV to patrol the walking trail, respond to complaints of illegal ATV operation and various patrols on properties throughout the Town. They are also a very valuable search and rescue tool.
The police department has trained special weapons and tactics officers, but do not have or participate in an emergency response team.
When the need arises the department utilizes the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team or The Orange County Sheriffs’ Office Special Operations Group.
Additionally the department does not have a k-9 unit. When the need arises for K-9 the State Police and Orange County Sheriffs’ Office provide the services.
The department has a 24 hour holding cell that is in compliance with New York State Department of Corrections guidelines. Defendants remanded to jail are sent to the Orange County Sheriffs’ Office.
The Town of Crawford Police Department has dispatchers assigned to the station 16 hours per day. The dispatchers are responsible for greeting walk in traffic, answering emergency and non-emergency calls that come into the station. The dispatchers advise patrols of the calls for service and are able to direct callers to the appropriate point of contact for non-emergency calls. Additionally the dispatchers monitor the County emergency dispatch system and assist when necessary. In 2020 Crawford Police dispatchers answered thousands of phone calls and dispatched about 5,000 calls for service.
The Orange County Communications Center run by Orange County Department of Emergency Services, is the primary Public Safety Answering Point in Orange County for all land line 911 calls received. Any 911 call that is placed through a cellular device from anywhere in Orange County is received by the Communications Center as well. Once these calls are received, dispatchers are then able to dispatch calls for service to law enforcement, ambulance and fire companies. This center is run by Orange County, staffed 24 hours a day seven days a week with certified, trained professionals that have the ability to send the proper first responder quickly. As calls come in to the Communications Center, dispatchers work diligently to ensure an appropriate police response if necessary.
In addition to dispatching the call, Crawford Dispatch and Orange County 911 accurately records units involved in each incident and ensure that only the necessary units are at each call. This is important as police protection needs to continue being available even when there is a large, manpower consuming incident occurring.
The Town of Crawford Police Department utilizes several strategies to effectively provide law enforcement services to the community. Many of those strategies are not only directed at targeting crime, but are also developed to ensure the community has the necessary resources offered by the department. TCPD believes in transparency and sharing as much information as possible with the public. It has always been the department’s goal to work together with the community to provide better service and promote public safety.
Accreditation in New York State provides a framework of best practices and operational standards to be followed by the police department. The department is in the process of applying for accreditation through the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services. During the accreditation process, the department will submit to an independent, outside examination and review to ensure the following:
- The department has policies and procedures in place to address specific areas of the operational, administration and training process.
- That the policies in place meet the standards which have been set by the outside oversight agency.
- That the division has implemented and continues to follow the policies that have been established for that specific division.
In addition to the process of becoming accredited, the department has committed to achieve and maintain accreditation by having staff continually monitor and update accreditation files. This involves the constant review of policy and procedure as well as observing the process to ensure that polices are followed. When a policy is not being followed, corrective action is implemented. This process assists in the safeguarding of life and property by ensuring that specific policies are implemented and followed. While not every situation can be accounted for in a policy, these provide the framework for guidance in most situations. In order for a policy to be enacted at TCPD, a written policy is reviewed by the subject matter experts as well as the entire administrative staff. This ensures the policy receives the utmost scrutiny. Only after the completion of this process will the Chief implement the policy.
The Town of Crawford Police Department has a long tradition of proud service to the citizens of the Town. The department takes great pride in engaging with the community while increasing its transparency. The department always puts the needs of the community first. The department invites the community to work together with the department to make the Town of Crawford a safe place to live, work and play. Department members can frequently be seen at community events.
While many activities have been hampered by Covid-19 the department and PBA continue to be involved in the community. The canceling of the annual Halloween Hayride did not deter them, it created the first Emergency Service Truck or Treat. This December they canceled the Holiday Senior Lunch because of Covid. The canceling of this 25 year tradition did not sit well with the PBA or department so the 2020 Holiday Senior Luncheon was done door dash style. 200 plus meals where loaded into the department trailer and delivered to the awesome senior citizens
The department is always seeking new ways to partner with the community. They have participated in food drives to benefit the food pantries along with adopting families in need. This year they became an active participant in the Friendly Visitor program. The Department is also an active supporters and helpers with the several Veterans organizations in Town.
Among the department’s 2021 goals is to host its first Night Out on Crime to show case the department and great community. Additionally a formal crime prevention program will be started.
A new website was built and launched in 2019. By searching www.crawfordpolice.com , you will find the innovative website is easy to navigate. Large buttons direct users to vital information such as submit a tip, sex offenders, most wanted, community events, press releases, contact directory and animal abuse registry. In addition, users are able to search and review all functions of the police department.
A feature under the contact us tab is the ability to electronically file a Citizen Comment Form. The Crawford Police Department strives to provide the best possible service to the residents of the Town of Crawford. Citizens are encouraged to bring forward positive comments as well as legitimate concerns regarding the Office or misconduct by police personnel.
The Crawford Police Department has found great value in Social Media.
Currently, the department utilizes Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With over 6,300 followers combined across all platforms, this outreach tool has proved to be invaluable with regard to connecting with residents and visitors of the Town of Crawford.
Social Media is used to push out press releases, photos of officers out in the community, crime and safety tips, missing children, recruitment, and highlight events that are occurring throughout the Town. Most importantly, the use of social media has allowed the agency to be transparent in all they are involved in. The department allows community interaction on its pages and use feedback as a way to evaluate the needs of our community.
Officer Recording Systems
In response to the 2020 events that unfolded nationally the Crawford Town Board and the Police Benevolent Union requested the department revisit the implementation of body worn cameras.
After research the department purchased the Officer Safety Program from Axon International. The purchase provides body cameras for all sworn members of the department and the necessary data storage.
Uniformed officers, no matter the rank, are required by department policy to activate the camera anytime they have interaction with a citizen. At the end of each shift, these recordings are uploaded to a cloud based storage location. Videos are then kept for a minimum of 12 months but can be retained longer for pertinent investigations. Videos can only be deleted by a Supervisor. Any video containing a use of force incident of a complaint against an officer is retained forever in the database.
The recordings obtained through the use of technology allow the department to review incidents in their entirety. These systems are useful training tools to ensure the professionalism of the agency.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
As part of this endeavor, the Town of Crawford Police Department reviewed the policy and procedural manual to determine if any changes were necessary.
The department in 2017 went to an on line based program for all policies and procedures. After review Lexipol was chosen to provide policies and procedures that are within industry and state standards.
All policies and procedures were reviewed by the department administrators and supervisors prior to their release.
The program has a policy sign off which allows the department to track and monitor acknowledgement of current policy and procedures. Additionally officers are tested daily on various policies to ensure that they maintain a good working knowledge of what is expected from them.
As part of the goal of achieving New York State Accreditation, the department is required to review policies regularly. The below policies were particularly reviewed as they relate to the police reform initiative.
Use of Force
The use of force by any member of the department is governed by NYS Penal Law Article 35 which provides for the justification of such force. The policy of TCPD is more restrictive than the regulations established by NYS law. TCPD also adheres to the model policy created by the Municipal Police Training Council.
One change made to the TCPD policy regarding use of force was to reinforce the ban on chokeholds as a method of gaining control, although the use of chokeholds has never been taught to any member of the department. Chokeholds have long been removed from training curriculums and are not a matter of practice for today’s law enforcement officers.
TCPD is obligated to report specific use of force incidents to the DCJS repository if they meet certain criteria. The criteria include: the use of a chemical agent (pepper spray), the use of a firearm, the use of an electronic control weapon (Taser), the use of a chokehold, or any force which resulted in death or serious bodily injury as defined by the NYS Penal Law. Prior to NYS requiring the reporting of use of force incidents, the department regularly reported use of force incidents to the FBI for statistical gathering.
The department recognizes a Use of Force Continuum as a guide to Navigate officer actions.
Any use of force incident by any police officer is thoroughly reviewed by an internal Use of Force Review Board to determine whether the force used was appropriate, justified, and authorized by law and policy. This report is then submitted to the Chief of Police.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is committed to ensuring the proper conduct of its officers. It is the policy of the department to thoroughly investigate any complaint made against any member of TCPD. Review and tracking protocols have been created to ensure that all investigations into a member’s conduct were handled properly and fairly.
Recruitment, Selection, and Appointment
It is the policy of the department to recruit and select the highest caliber of police officer candidates and to do so in accordance with the New York State Civil Service Law as administered by the Orange County Civil Service Commission. The department will hire qualified candidates utilizing fair and impartial recruitment practices which do not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, color, age, religion, ethnic or national origin or physical impairment. The department is an Equal Opportunity Employer and shall maintain policies and procedures to ensure this result.
To be eligible for full time appointment, candidates must meet the prescribed standards set forth by the New York State Bureau for Municipal Police and the Orange County Civil Service Commission. All candidates must have at least sixty (60) hours of college credits from an accredited College/ University or a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma with three years full-time active duty military experience.
Eligible candidates must pass a written exam administered by Civil Service. All candidates must satisfactorily complete a physical agility test, which tests candidates using current, accepted standards as determined by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
A thorough background investigation will be conducted on each person on the eligibility list by members of the department. Candidates must complete and submit a background questionnaire and they will be fingerprinted and photographed. The background investigation will include, but not be limited to, investigation into the candidate’s residence, family, education, military background, previous employment history, social contacts, physical and emotional health, credit history, organizations and affiliations and motor vehicle and criminal history inquiries.
Candidates successfully completing the recruitment process and background investigation will be required to take part in an oral interview conducted by the Chief of Police. The oral interview will employ a set of uniform questions and the results obtained will be recorded on standardized forms.
The candidate will be evaluated to establish that they have the emotional stability and psychological fitness compatible with the position of police officer.
The candidate will be given a physical examination by a licensed physician in accordance with the current standards prescribed by the Municipal Police Training Council. When such physical examination has not been conducted in the course of civil service testing, as in the case of some transfer candidates, the same standards and procedures will be applied.
The candidate will be required to submit to a test to determine substance use/abuse.
Part time police officer must also pass the background process but are hired as non-competitive employees.
While hampered by civil service law, the department also engages in recruitment procedures in an effort to attain and maintain a ratio of minority group employees in approximate proportion to the makeup of the Town of Crawford and aggressively recruits women and minority members to become Town of Crawford Police Officers.
It is the policy of the Town of Crawford and its police department that no person may use race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, financial status, or lawful source of income in the course of their duties.
It is the policy of the Town of Crawford to provide equal employment to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, or Veteran Era Veteran status. The department’s goal is to encourage minorities and women to apply for departmental positions and to assist them in attaining supervisory status when time and rank permits. This policy is also designed to increase the overall effectiveness and vitality of the criminal justice system. The Department is committed to keeping Affirmative Action Considerations an integral part of all agency activities performed in the furtherance of our mission and in meeting our responsibilities to the citizens.
The Crawford Police Department has long been committed to providing the best training possible for our police officers so they can deliver the best service to the community. NYS Accreditation mandates not only initial training, but mandatory in-service training annually by members of law enforcement. At a minimum, police officers must receive twenty-one hours of in-service training each year in the areas of Use of Force, Firearms, and Legal Updates.
The requirements of TCPD training exceeds the minimum requirements set forth by NYS Accreditation.
The department has 2 New York State Department of Criminal Justice Certified Master Instructors, 3 firearms instructors and 4 general topic instructors. These certified instructors conduct all department trainings.
In addition to the approximate 80 hours of in-house training, officers are also trained on various topics at the Police Chiefs’ of Orange County Police Academy. This academy is a collaborative effort among municipal police agencies to train police officers in various topics.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is currently training staff and committed to ensuring continual education for officers on procedural justice and annual training in Implicit Bias.
It is the policy of the Town of Crawford Police Department to recognize the value of its employees and to stimulate them to excellence by evaluating their performance, recognizing their abilities and strengths and documenting their deficiencies.
Supervisors of the Town of Crawford Police Department are required to conduct annual evaluations of their subordinates. Performance evaluations assist in the administration of the personnel performance system, principles of which includes retaining employees on the basis and adequacy of their performance, correcting inadequate performance, and dismissing employees whose inadequate performance cannot be corrected.
Members of the department who violate any federal, state, or local laws or ordinances, or who violate the Rules and Regulations of the department are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
The execution of disciplinary action is governed by Article 75 of the Civil Service Law as well as the Collective Bargaining Unit of the Town of Crawford Police union. Any member whose employment is terminated for cause or who chooses to resign prior to facing disciplinary charges is subject to a decertification process by New York State law. When this occurs, the agency must notify Department of Criminal Justice who maintains the police officer registry and submit paperwork to remove the officer’s certification.
It is the policy of the department that every complaint that can be properly resolved should be so handled without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, financial status or lawful source of income. Exceptions to this policy shall be limited to those complaints where efficiency demands specialized assistance such as cases which require extensive investigation, both in time and expertise for their solution or by their inherit nature, necessitate investigation by a separate division
Investigating Hate Crimes
It is the policy of the department to employ the necessary resources and necessary law enforcement action to identify and arrest hate crime perpetrators. Any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation or other crimes motivated by hate and bias and designed to infringe upon the rights of individuals are given a high priority by the department.
The Town of Crawford Police department will train officers in handling of mental health calls and Crisis Intervention. This training, will help officers recognize and assist emotionally distressed individuals in a variety of situations in the community. These situations may include suicidal persons, persons exhibiting irrational behavior, handling psychiatric patients, the homeless, various mental health concerns and/or referrals, and any other situations that deal specifically with the needs of the mental health community and emotionally disturbed persons. It is the goal of the Crawford Police Department to expand Crisis Intervention and De-escalation training to all members so they are better equipped to deal with emotionally disturbed persons. The department will continue and strengthen its partnership with Orange County Mobile Mental Health. The departments routinely work together to determine the best course of action when dealing with persons in crisis.
Officers are assigned to specific patrol areas on a daily basis. Officers will perform their duties and conduct themselves at all times in a professional, courteous, polite and efficient manner.
Prohibition Regarding Racial Profiling and Other Bias Based Policing
The Town of Crawford Police Department expressly prohibits racial profiling or other bias based policing. The Town of Crawford Police Department is committed to observing, upholding, and enforcing all laws relating to the individual rights of all persons. Members will respect and protect each person’s human rights and comply with all laws relating to human rights. In addition to respect for those human rights prescribed by law, members will treat all persons with the courtesy and dignity which is inherently due to every person as a human being. Members will act, speak, and conduct themselves in a professional manner and maintain a courteous attitude in all contacts with the public. It is a fundamental duty of every member to be vigilant in the investigation of unusual or suspicious occurrences, detect violations of the law, safeguard lives and property, guarantee all persons fair and equal treatment under the law, and ensure that the rights of all persons are protected. In meeting these duties, the Town of Crawford Police Department remains committed to working actively with all communities throughout the Crawford Community. Members are expressly prohibited from engaging in racial profiling or bias based policing activities. Members making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions, such as investigatory stops, traffic stops and arrests, may not use race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, financial status, or lawful source of income, except that officers may rely on the listed characteristics in a specific suspect description. Members must be able to clearly articulate the specific police or public safety purpose of any traffic or other stop. Members will immediately report any observed violations of the policies and procedures established under this directive to a supervisor.
It shall be the policy of the Town of Crawford Police Department to investigate fully complaints against the office and its members. It shall also be the policy of the department to reach a prompt resolution of such complaints or allegations, after an objective and impartial investigation, in order that while maintaining the credibility and integrity of the department, the public will be assured that police misconduct will not be tolerated, but at the same time provide a mechanism through which a member, unjustly accused, can be vindicated.
General Call Taking Procedures
It is the policy of the department to be professional and courteous while taking calls received by dispatch. The Department will maintain procedures which promote professional dispatch standards to ensure an acceptable level of customer service. The department recognize that Public Safety Dispatchers are the public’s critical link to help in an emergency. Many callers will be frightened, angry or confused. The dispatcher’s initial conversation with the caller sets the tone for the entire incident.
This policy was modified to ensure every call is handled without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status, financial status or lawful source of income.
Call Taking Procedure for Abusive or Uncooperative Callers
It is the policy of the department to treat all callers courteously and efficiently. While callers can often become upset or sometime belligerent, Dispatchers will maintain their professionalism. The Dispatcher, regardless of a caller’s demeanor, must provide the appropriate response to all calls for service.
This policy was reviewed to ensure compliance with accreditation standards as well as NYS Executive Order 203. Language was added to the policy to ensure a non-biased procedure was outlined for handling calls for public safety services.
As part of our collaborative process, the Town of Crawford Police Department reviewed all current practices throughout our department to ensure standards of New York State Police Reform Collaboration. Listed below are the evaluations of current practices.
Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy
One of the most important requirements of any police officer is training. The Town of Crawford Police Department has always been committed to providing the most highly trained police officers. This commitment begins at the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy.
The training required of a police officer is mandated by the NYS Division of
Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). DCJS has established the Municipal Police
Training Council (MPTC) to define the standards for training throughout NYS. Prospective police officers are required to attend an accredited law enforcement academy.
The Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy is a premier law enforcement training program. Through its partnerships with both private and public entities, they are able to administer the highest level of training available to law enforcement agencies across Orange County.
Training is one of the most important and vital functions of any law enforcement agency. The Basic Course for Police is often considered to be the most important learning experiences that a police officer completes during his or her career.
The Basic Course for Police has undergone a continual evolution since it was first established on July 1, 1960. It originally consisted of a minimum of 80 hours of instruction in specific areas. Today, the Basic Course for Police consists of a minimum standard of over 700 hours that is established through the New York
State Municipal Training Council (MPTC). The Director and training committee at the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy as well as New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services routinely reviews the content of the Basic Course for Police Officers to ensure that the material remains relevant to criminal justice issues and best prepares officers to serve their communities. Today’s Basic Course for Police Officers covers a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, Ethics & Professionalism, Cultural Diversity, Bias Related Incidents, Professional Communication, Persons with Disabilities, Crisis Intervention, Use of Physical Force & Deadly Force, Active Shooter Response and Decision Making. Today’s police recruits are also mandated to complete numerous Reality Based Training Scenarios to better prepare them for the situations they will encounter on the job.
More often than not, the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy exceeds the minimum standard number of hours during the Basic Course for Police. Additional time is allocated in critical areas of instruction such as Emergency Vehicle Operation, Firearms, Reality Based Training, Officer Wellness and Response and Investigative Skills.
As previously mentioned, the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy routinely reviews course curriculums to ensure compliance and up to date training. To remain in compliance with New York State Executive Order 203, The Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy has made changes to the Defensive Tactics Curriculum for the Basic Course for Police. This legislation establishes criminal penalties for the use of a chokehold by a police or peace officer causing serious physical injury or death. New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and Office of Public Safety (OPS) issued a training advisory to all law enforcement academies and defensive tactics instructors outlining the necessary trainings. Per Municipal Police Training Council directives, defensive tactics training objectives and sections related to neck restraints have been discontinued, effective immediately.
In addition, the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy has updated the curriculum for Defensive Tactics reflecting Part 4 Section J, specifically discontinuing objective #21 which demonstrates the mechanics of a shoulder pin restraint, and discontinuing instruction of the Neck Restraint (Pages 4J 26-29).
The Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy has a great partnership with all municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Orange County. Academy directors are able to share information that is received through both New York State Department of Criminal Justice and the New York State Municipal Training Council to ensure stakeholders are in compliance with new laws and regulations and to adequately plan and prepare for any upcoming changes.
Field Training Program
A police officers training does not end upon graduation from the academy. They are then required to complete an extensive and elaborate Field
Training Program administered by certified training officers within the agency. The Crawford Police Department has a Field Training Program where new recruits receive supervised training by a certified Field Training Officer (FTO).
Recruits shadow a senior officer to ensure they are following proper policy and procedure and are meeting expectations of the Chief and mission of the department.
A police officer’s training is never complete. Law Enforcement officers are continuously learning new techniques and new methods of policing. They are required to keep abreast of legal changes annually.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is striving to become a New York State Accredited Agency. In order to do so and stay in compliance with Accreditation, In-service training is a critical standard. It requires that all sworn personnel, both full and part-time, receive at least 21 hours of in-service training annually. This includes, at a minimum, firearms training, legal updates, a review of use of force and the use of deadly force. The Training requirements at the police department exceeds these minimum standards.
In addition, the department regularly reviews training opportunities to further the education and certifications of personnel. As trainings are identified, members can submit a request to attend. Efforts are made to seek out relevant trainings which allow attendees to share this information through train the trainer opportunities.
The department routinely utilizes a method of training called Reality Based Training (RBT). This is a scenario based training which allows officers to react to the situation as it is occurring. The scenarios are scripted to achieve the desired training outcomes. Following the completion of each scenario, instructors provide immediate feedback to the student on their performance.
Training for the dispatchers is conducted in house by trained police instructors and experienced dispatchers.
Lastly, training opportunities are not limited to classroom trainings only. Supervisors utilize Police one video training videos and pre-shift briefing as an opportunity to share information relating to current topics, review legal updates and policy and procedures.
Police Diversion Program
The department has had a long standing partnership with Tri-County Community Partnership and Hope Not Handcuffs to provide education and substance abuse intervention.
To expand on the success of Hope not Handcuffs the department along with 5 other agencies partnered with the Orange County District Attorney’s office and Hope not Handcuffs to have a pre-arrest diversion program for low level drug offenses.
This pilot program will enable us to provide a community-based diversion approach with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing unnecessary justice system involvement of people who participate in the program. This program allows police officers to exercise discretionary authority at point of contact to divert individuals to Hope not Handcuffs to address the core issue, drug addiction. Prosecutors and police officers work closely with Hope Not Handcuffs to ensure involvement with the program.
Less Lethal Options
The Town of Crawford Police Department believes in giving officers the proper tools to ensure their safety and that of the public. The goal to resolve any interaction is to use the least amount of force possible to control the situation. While officers are required to carry a service weapon, often times the most valuable tools available to them are their less lethal options. Every officer is issued pepper spray, also referred to as Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). OC spray is designed to be applied to a subject’s facial area to cause a burning sensation. Exposure to OC spray allows the officer to assist in gaining control of a combative subject. Immediately following exposure, officers are required to ensure proper medical treatment is provided to a subject. It should be noted that officers are also required to become exposed to OC spray in order to be certified to carry it. Another valuable less lethal option is a Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW), often referred to as a Taser. The CEW is designed to deliver electrically charged probes into a combative subject in an effort to incapacitate the neuromuscular system. The CEW has proven to be an effective tool for combative subjects. Studies have shown that the use of the CEW decreases the potential for injury to both the subject and the officer. It should also be noted that officers are required to be certified to carry it and are also required to receive training on the weapon annually. Per policy, officers are required to provide medical care to any subject who has been exposed to the CEW.
With the increase in calls to assist individuals in crisis and/or suffering from mental illness the Crawford Police Department began training officers in Crisis Intervention (CIT). The CIT is a first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, health care, and advocacy partnerships. The goal was to assist individual with a mental illness, and improve the safety of patrol officers, consumers, family members and citizens.
The amount of calls and limited resources prevents the department from having a full CIT Team. With that being said the department partners with Orange County Mobil Mental Health to address concerns. The Town of Crawford Police Department has several officers trained in CIT and will be training more officers. CIT training is an additional 40 hours of training, to deal with emotionally distressed individuals in a variety of situations in the community. These situations may include suicidal persons, persons exhibiting irrational behavior, handling psychiatric patients, the homeless, various mental health concerns and/or referrals, and any other situations that deal specifically with the needs of the mental health community and emotionally disturbed persons. The CIT trained officers will make contact with Orange County Mobil Mental Health when appropriate to assist with the call. The goal of CIT and the assistance of a mental health counselor is to reduce the need for further involvement with the criminal justice system. If an individual can be assisted in the field with appropriate services, it may reduce the need for hospitalization or further criminal justice intervention.
The department also utilizes Crisis Negotiation Teams from the State Police or Orange County Sheriff’s Office for high risk incidents which may involve barricaded individuals, emotionally disturbed persons, hostage situations, or when a supervisor believes it may be beneficial for the safety of the officers, citizens and subject(s) involved.
It is the goal of the Crawford Police Department to expand Crisis Intervention and De-escalation training to all members so they are better equipped to deal with emotionally disturbed persons. The department also has an extensive partnership with the Orange County Department of Mental Health. In conjunction with the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County they routinely work together to provide training for officers and to determine the best course of action when dealing with persons in crisis.
Use of Force Review Process
Although the significant majority of arrest made by the department are made without incident, on occasion it becomes necessary for officers to use authorized and justified force to resolve a situation. As mentioned earlier, all force situations by the department are governed by departmental policy as well as New York State Law. The department closely examines all use of force incidents by department personnel. TCPD has established a review process for all incidents. During this process, officers using force are required to complete departmental reports and collect all pertinent information. Once those reports are completed, their supervisor must review the incident to determine if the amount of force used was authorized under NYS law, department policy, and current training standards.
Once the supervisor has completed his/her portion of the review process, the entire file is then reviewed independently by the department’s use of force review board. The findings of the review board and all pertinent paperwork is presented to the Chief of Police for a final review before closing the matter.
Effective immediately, the department will retain all use of force incidents permanently and in a computer database. Not only does this database maintain the files, but it also allows supervisors and administrative personnel the opportunity to generate reports of force incidents. Administrative personnel can set parameters on the database to receive notifications on specific officers who may have more force incidents compared to other officers. This serves as an additional measure of checks and balances.
The department is required by NYS to report certain types of force incidents to the DCJS portal system. Any force involving the use of pepper spray, the deployment of a CEW, the discharge of a weapon, or any incident that causes serious bodily injury must be reported.
The Town of Crawford Police Department attends many events throughout each year and works tirelessly to remain an active partner in the community. The department is involved in programs such as Explorers Post and the Friendly Visitors. The department provides car seat installations, crime and safety presentations.
The department partners with the Pine Bush High School to present the Law and Leadership academy every summer. The program was created in 2002 and brings upwards of 250 students to this enrichment program held in July. The academy has been successful in creating leaders in the school building that have helped reduce school discipline.
The Crawford Police Department routinely visits and interacts with senior citizen group. An officer is assigned to assist Veterans and their organizations so they can help and honor them.
This fall, the department will be holding its first Citizens Police Academy’s for members of the community. This 12 week program provides attendees an in-depth experience of all functions at the department. The program includes simulated firearms training, reality based training and an emergency vehicle operator course.
Furthermore, the department has a long standing tradition of volunteering with different community organizations. Numerous members are youth coaches, scout leaders, involved in their religious organizations and volunteer firemen. This exemplifies the commitment to maintaining relationships within the community and getting to know the visitors and residents they proudly serve.
Citizen Comment Form
The Crawford Police Department strives to provide the best possible service to the residents of the Town. Through the Citizen Comment Form, citizens are encouraged to bring forward possible comments as well as legitimate concerns regarding the police department or misconduct by police personnel.
The Citizen Comment Form has been designed to document such comments, and to initiate investigation of alleged misconduct. This form can be located on the department website and can either be printed and returned via mail or submitted electronically through the website.
The Town of Crawford Police remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of all residents and visitors. The department constantly reviews the operations of the department and seeks to improve the services they provide to the community. To that endeavor, the department is committed to effecting positive change in their relationships with the community.
While the department has always looked for new ways to improve recruitment efforts they are limited by New York State Civil Service Law. While the department must follow the civil service process in hiring, they still are seeking ways to ensure the recruitment of quality minority candidates to improve diversity in law enforcement. The department is hoping to attract youth to careers in law enforcement through its interactions with students in programs like the Law and Leadership academy and collaborative efforts with Orange County Department of Personnel on expanded community outreach efforts.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is committed to achieve and maintain the standards for accreditations set forth by New York State Department of Criminal Justice. As mentioned earlier, the department’s goal is to be an accredited law enforcement agency
As discussed previously, the Crawford Police Department partners with Hope Not Handcuffs and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in a pre-arrest diversion program for low level drug offenses.
This program will allow officers to utilize discretion for low level arrests and encourage offenders to participate in necessary treatment programs in lieu of criminal charges.
The department’s goal is to expand the training opportunities for Crisis Intervention Training. The department will continue to expand upon this important program to meet the needs of the communities.
Members of the department will also continue to engage in de-escalation training programs. The department is currently in the process of rolling out additional de-escalation and empathy training. The department has recently purchased a product which allows them to utilize Virtual Reality (VR) training to place officers in real life situations. The VR training will enhance officer’s abilities to recognize members of the community who are experiencing mental health situations. Additional scenarios continue to be developed and will be implemented as they become available.
In addition to expanded CIT training, the department will also continue to evaluate and expand the training our officers received in Disability Awareness. The department has had past training but looks forward to growing its disability awareness program. This program is offered at the law enforcement academy as well as through in-service training with the use of certified instructors.
The CIT Training will be expanded to Dispatchers as well to assist them with proper mental health call screening. These trainings will have specific components directed at contact with veterans.
Use of Force Review
The review process involving force incidents is imperative to the department’s core functions. While this process will continue, the department will also look to increase its transparency with the community by sharing statistical data. The department will utilize its website to share information regarding its force incidents with the public. Each month this data will be refreshed so the data remains current and the public can view an accurate representation of incidents.
The department is also committed to ensuring that it monitors use of force incidents involving its members to ensure there are no disparities amongst members of certain races. The Use of Force policy of the department can be found on the website at www.crawfordpolice.com. It is posted for public review in our effort to remain transparent with the community we serve.
By the end of this year, all members will be provided training on Anti-Bias. The department has already begun the New York State DCJS training program and are in contact with the Orange County Human Rights Commission for further training. The department will work to ensure the most effective and current training for its members is provided. Several of the officers will receive an additional train-the-trainer program to ensure that the department can continue to offer this training as an annual requirement.
The department will also continue to look for relevant training on these topics to ensure a diverse curriculum of training can be offered to the officers.
The Town of Crawford Police Explorers Post 710 allows young adults, ages 16 to 20 years old, to learn about many facets of law enforcement. The Explorers meetings are on hold due to Covid 19. When in session classes met once a month and are run paramilitary style. The classes are filled with relevant content for young adults interested in a career in law enforcement. Students gain knowledge and hands-on experience during trainings and through working events.
The long term goal is to promote positive community interactions with members of law enforcement while empowering individuals to achieve personal life goals.
Transparency via Website
The department is furthering its efforts to become a more transparent agency. To achieve this an expansion of the use of its website is being planned. Department data will be updated regularly to reflect the current trends, including the race, age and gender of arrestees, number of traffic tickets issued and use of force incidents broken down by race and gender. The department will also give a total of the calls for service by month.
Town Hall Meetings/Coffee with a Cop
The department will hold “Town Hall” and Coffee with a Cop style meetings throughout the Town. These meetings allow the department to communicate information about programs and services offered and listen to the community members.
The Town of Crawford Police Department has understood that the job of law enforcement can be very stressful. They work in close partnership with Police Chiefs Association of Orange County to provide wellness training. Additionally they have partnered with the New York State Police to provide an Employee Assistance Program.
Additionally staff members are peer support mentors. Members having problems can seek assistance through their peer mentors and can avail themselves of counseling services whenever needed. The department also conducts a debriefing session following any critical incident so officers can share their feelings. Supervisors also actively monitor officer behaviors to determine any early indicators of potential problems. The safety and wellness of officer is paramount.
Mental Health Response
Mental Health calls continue to increase and require a law enforcement response. In addition to continued training provided to officers in handling these matters, the department will continue to expand its partnership with Orange County Mobile Mental Health.
Continuous Reform Evolvement
Periodically the department will continue to engage with the selected reform committee to update them on progress and seek regular input and feedback.
GOALS AND MEASUREABLE OBJECTIVES TO POLICE REFORM
The Town of Crawford Police Department is committed to achieve the goals and measurable objectives set forth by the Town of Crawford Police Reform Stakeholder working group. This group was comprised of the Town Supervisor, a member of the Orange County Legislature, District Attorney, and several residents. The Town of Crawford Police Chief participated as an advisor and source of information. The Legal Aid Society of Orange County was invited but did not participate.
The following outlines the goals and measurable objectives for the Town of
Crawford Police Department:
#1 Use of Force
The department has articulated the banning of chokeholds and tactics that would restrict breathing in its general orders and procedures
The department will:
- Continue to update and review the Use of Force policy
- Continue to monitor individual and departments use of force for patterns and abuse
- Use of Force Training will be expanded to include :
- De-escalation training
- Recognition of people experiencing mental health emergencies
- Recognition of individuals who may be impaired as a result of substance abuse.
- Review all use of forces.
- All use of forces will be evaluated at scene by a supervisor
- All use of force incidents will be reviewed by Use of Force Review Board
- Review board report will be forwarded to the Chief of Police for review.
- All Use of Forces will be reported in a quarterly report to the Town Board
#2 Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias
Develop skills and tactics to reduce the influence of bias on police practice and increase police officer recognition of their own human biases and how implicit biases can affect their perceptions of others and their own behaviors.
The department will work with the Orange County Human Rights Commission to remain relevant with current and trends regarding civil rights issues
There will be required mandatory ongoing in-service anti-bias training annually to all members of the department.
# 3 Mental Health Response
Due to the lack of resources and the size of Orange County Continue to respond to mental health calls for service.
The Department will:
- Be cognizant of the complexity of mental health calls
- Expand the number of Crisis Intervention trained officers with a goal of every sworn member trained.
- Will continue to strengthen its relationship with Orange County Mobile Mental Health.
- Continue and improve training in the area of mental health will continue.
#4 Pre-Arrest Diversion
The department will work to strengthen its pre-arrest diversion programs. The partnership between the department and stakeholders, Hope not Handcuffs and Orange County District Attorney’s Office will assist this process.
# 5 Accountability
The department will
- General orders and procedures will require the reporting of misconduct by a peer.
- Provide a quarterly report of personnel complaints to the Town Board
- Investigate all Personnel Complaints completely and referred appropriately.
Off duty conduct of personnel is governed under general orders and procedures.
Hiring of full time staff is regulated by New York and Orange County civil service.
The department’s demographics are currently reflective of the Crawford community.
The department will be cognizant of maintaining that reflection when openings come up. This will be done by advertising the civil service test and requirements on the department’s social media platforms.
#7 Transparency and Data
- The department will continue to complete Incident data to the Division of Criminal Justice Services and is publicly available.
- With the advice from the Town Attorney, the department will publish policies and procedures for review by the public on our website
- Starting in 2021, the department will provide an expanded yearly report that contains expanded department data.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is an agency comprised of highly trained men and women who are service oriented and reflect the ideals consistent with their mission, to provide the finest and most professional public safety services to the residents and visitors of the Town of Crawford.
In addition, the department is committed to working in unison with the community and other law enforcement agencies and demand of themselves the highest standards of honesty and integrity as they uphold all laws for which we are responsible.
The Town of Crawford Police Department is committed and stand ready to proudly serve the needs of the Town of Crawford.
The department recognizes the importance of public safety throughout our community. They are committed to utilizing all resources available in order to ensure the safety of the Crawford Community. The department will continue to work closely with their partners in law enforcement as well as the community to ensure that the Town of Crawford remains a great place to live, work and play.