Public outrage over acquittals in cases of blatant police brutality is at the core of our pain. Holding police officers and departments more accountable for their actions and requiring more transparency is an important starting point for reform.
The goal of these transparency and accountability recommendations is to promote a culture within the Department that emphasizes being neutral and transparent in decision-making and conveying trustworthy motives, thereby contributing to enhancing mutual trust between the community and the police.
The Committee recommends the following transparency actions:
Publish data on the Department’s website relating to types of arrests, whether the arrest is
police or civilian initiated, car stops and whether those stops result in summonses or warnings, and break down this data demographically (i.e. – by race, age range, sex, and
In September of 2021, the Department posted a Quarterly Arrest Report on our public website. The report can be viewed or downloaded here.
The report shows the demographics of all arrestees categorized by Calls for Service Arrests, Police Initiated and Traffic Arrests. The report will be updated quarterly.
The reporting of traffic infraction warnings is not included in the report because there is no existing data. To meet this recommendation, the Department is requesting the State’s support to add warning data to the NYS TraCs System software.
Publish data on the Department’s website showing the demographics of the police department and comparing those demographics to the demographics of the City as a whole.
In September of 2021, the Department posted a Department Demographics Report on our public website. The report can be viewed or downloaded here.
The report shows the demographics of the police department and compares those demographics to the demographics of the City as a whole. This report is updated annually.
Advocate for the creation of a statewide database/registry that tracks police misconduct/disciplinary records.
The City of White Plains Police Department supports this iniative.
Track interactions and outcomes with persons who are disabled as well as with those who
have mental illness for the purpose of identifying trends and using that data to address training needs. Expand Rapid Recovery Program to include other disabilities.
In February of 2021, the Department added two dispositions to our records management system to identify interactions with disabled persons and those with mental illness. The information was distributed Department-wide and the reasons for implementation and proper use of these dispositions was instructed to all members during our 2021 In Service Training period. The Department is actively using this data to identify trends and address training needs.
The expansion of our Rapid Recovery Program (originally designed to quickly identify and locate a missing autistic child) to include other other disabilities and all ages is actively being discussed.
Lack of trust and confidence in the Department remains an issue in some segments of the community. Recent national and local events have contributed to lingering feelings of mistrust. The Committee believes there are several ways in which this can be addressed over time. This includes the two recommendations below, as well as other recommendations included in this report related to community outreach and engagement, recruitment, and others.
Make improvements to the current personnel complaint process. The following steps can be taken immediately to make the personnel complaint process easier for the public to
use and understand:
- Provide the public with several means of filing a complaint, including via the
Public Safety website, mobile app, and in-person at Public Safety headquarters.
- Make complaint forms available at community organizations and public locations such as the Library.
- Make complaint forms available in Spanish and Creole.
- Allow the complainant to indicate the best means of contact for follow-up purposes. For example, US mail, email or telephone.
- Provide a complaint tracking number that individuals and staff can use to easily reference and track a complaint.
- Add language to the form stating that an interested party may obtain a copy of body worn camera video footage through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) process.
- Complainants should be encouraged to complete a personnel complaint form.
Most of these recommendations have been adopted into our current Personnel Complaint Procedure which may be viewed here. (Revised 05/2021)
Complaint tracking numbers may be made possible upon transition to an online personnel complaint management system. (See next recommendation)
Transition to an online personnel complaint management system. At a minimum, this system should provide:
- A means for the complainant to track the status of his/her complaint (i.e. – through the issuance of a discreet “complaint ticket number” ).
- A means for the complainant to submit anonymously.
- An internal database for all complaints received and which would have report producing
- Configure the complaint management system to ensure that the Office of Professional Standards, the appropriate supervisors, and the Chief automatically receive notification that a complaint has been submitted and/or whenever any action step on a complaint has been taken.
The Department is currently researching an online complaint portal and management solution.
Implement a Civilian Complaint Review Board
- Members of this board must be residents of the City of White Plains.
- Members of this board must not be immediate family members of White Plains Police Department personnel.
- The review board is tasked with reviewing the internal investigative findings related to personnel complaints with the Office of Professional Standards
- The board may request additional follow up or information from OPS, as may be deemed necessary.
- Members of this board are tasked with writing an annual report of the work of the CCRB, to be shared with the Mayor, Common Council, and the public.
- Keep open the option of joining a County CCRB/OPA if one is established and meets the needs of our community.
This recommendation is still under review based on the potential of a County-Wide initiative.