Neither The Justice Department Nor Any Court Would Oversee The Agreement Or Have Control Over The Yonkers Police Department’s Operations
A settlement between Yonkers and the U.S. Justice Department over unconstitutional policing will cost the city about $1 million in extra training.
The training is intended to reduce use-of-force incidents and improve stop-and-search protocols, reporting and supervision. Yonkers is promising to implement about 150 requests by the federal government and the Yonkers Police have already adopted about 90 percent of the recommendations.
“This is not the same police department that it was 10 years ago when this investigation was started,” said Yonkers police Commissioner Charles Gardner. “We believe this agreement is consistent with good-management practices.”
Neither the Justice Department nor any court would oversee the agreement or have control over the city’s police operations. The extra cost will likely affect the city’s 2017-18 budget.
The two-year agreement would resolve a case that dates to 2007 when the Justice Department began an analysis of the city’s policing to determine if there were systemic civil rights violations. There wasn’t sufficient evidence of race-based policing, but the Justice Department found there was a potential pattern of excessive force and stop-and-search procedures, the city’s attorneys told the City Council’s Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Some of the changes already implemented include the wearing of name tags by all officers and an early-warning system for tracking officers who have an above-average amount of force incidents.
Gardner said the changes to the department have made a big difference. He said that since 2012 citizen complaints are down 44 percent, excessive force complaints are down 76 percent and false arrest complaints are down 80 percent.
Gardner said that only 4 percent of Yonkers arrests involve use of force.
“These recommendations were not mandated,” Gardner said. “These were recommendations that we felt would help improve operations.”
The Budget Committee moved the proposed settlement to the Rules Committee, which is charged with putting items on the council’s agenda for a vote.