The City Council has been performing a continuous evaluation of the process for reviewing citizen complaints against members of the Rochester Police Department. This review is not to be taken lightly, and the process is not one that can be rushed. We are committed to implementing a real solution that addresses the community’s call for increased trust, accountability and transparency.
In the spirit of transparency, I will continue to update the community periodically. I want folks to know where we are in the process and where we are going. Earlier this year the City Council issued a Request for Proposals to obtain a legal opinion that would answer the critical question of whether or not a Police Accountability Board could be legally empowered to discipline police officers. Harris Beach, PLLC was selected to review this question and provided Council with their opinion. The City of Rochester Law Department reviewed this opinion and provided a differing perspective.
We were presented with two different views from two respected legal entities in our community. Harris Beach’s opinion states:
“we have concluded that the proposed PAB may be legally empowered to discipline police officers, provided that certain amendments are made to the Charter of the City of Rochester that delegate such authority to the PAB.”
Our own law department feels that this review underestimates the weight and impact of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Taylor Law.
The Council will consider these opinions and use them to inform the development of a new Police Accountability Board.