Letter: Police Panel

Your article Putnam Police Panel Invites Feedback (Oct. 13) quotes a news release by Putnam County that said the county is seeking participation from various and diverse groups about the police reform plan it must create by April 1.

Representatives of several diverse groups submitted comments and offers of participation to the county executive well before this process started, and to the panel’s email box over the past month. As far as I can tell, no one has received any response.

Meanwhile, the Police Policy Review Panel, an all-white, mostly male body, continues to hold closed meetings in a building that’s closed to the public. Members of the public are able to listen to an audio feed but no provision has been made for any community members to ask questions or offer comments.

The panel was formed in response to the governor’s Executive Order 203, which requires participation by diverse members of the community, and failure to comply may result in payments to the county of state or federal funds being held up. The county’s news release sounds pretty good, but the county is not living up to its word. By locking out representatives of diverse communities, the county is putting much-needed funding in jeopardy.

Dwight Arthur, Mahopac

Editor’s note: An emergency order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March — which he has extended seven times, and which now is in effect until at least Nov. 3 — allows government panels to hold meetings by conference call without public input.

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