Black leaders seek role in Ossining response to police reform mandate

OSSINING – A group of 23 community leaders in Ossining has petitioned the Village Board of Trustees, seeking a seat at the table in the process set forth by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

The leaders were responding to a decision by the board of trustees to enter into a contract with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to serve as facilitators for the collaborative process. 

At a meeting with Mayor Victoria Gearity on September 1, NAACP President Aaron Moore expressed frustration that the village had issued a request for proposals and selected a facilitator without involving community stakeholders in the process.

“The village rushed out the RFP with a two-week deadline for proposals. The decision to select the police chiefs to guide the police reform process appears to be a serious conflict of interest,” Moore said. “Officer accountability is the key change we need at the Ossining Police Department. Will having a police organization in charge of reform address that need?”

At the September 1 meeting, Mayor Gearity agreed to allow the group to review the IACP proposal and the proposals of three other groups that applied for the position. The letter sent by the community leaders on September 9 recommended that the board consider the application of Matrix Consulting Group and asked to be a part of the interview process in reconsidering the initial selection of IACP.

The group also asked that the mayor appoint a Collaborative Advisory Committee to guide the process and create the plan for reforming the Ossining police that is required by the executive order.