"Oversight by an independent body fosters a higher standard of police integrity & community trust" – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 203 on June 12, 2020. The order required all government jurisdictions with a police agency to perform a comprehensive review of police policies and procedures culminating in a reform plan to be ratified or adopted by the local legislative body by April 1, 2021.
In August and September of 2020, County Executive Steven Bellone assembled 37 community, legislative, governmental and law enforcement representatives to serve on the county’s Police Reform and Reinvention Task Force.
County Executive Bellone assigned Deputy County Executives Vanessa Baird-Streeter and Jon Kaiman to lead the task force effort facilitating an extensive process necessary to meet the ambitious goals of reform. Both Baird-Streeter and Kaiman have a long history and deep understanding of public service, community recovery, and public engagement. Having a keen appreciation of the extensive inner-workings of the Department and its policies, procedures, and collective bargaining process, both deputies were tasked with setting the tone for the County’s reform process.
The collaborative process that spanned more than 7 months, listening to leaders and hearing directly from residents from across the County who wanted to engage and share their ideas on ways to strengthen the sacred relationship between diverse communities and those who are sworn to protect. This police reform and reinvention plan is a reflection of the input that was received - a blueprint for lasting change - and will serve as a roadmap to build upon the progress Suffolk County has already made.
The Suffolk County Police Reform and Reinvention plan was approved by the Suffolk County legislature on March 30, 2021 and submitted to NYS on April 1, 2021.
In December 2021, the Suffolk County Legislature passed County Executive Bellone’s resolution to codify the expansion of the role of the Human Rights Commission, as designed in the county’s Police Reform and Reinvention plan, tasking them with review and oversight of ongoing Police misconduct investigations.
Consequently, the Office of the County Executive has collaborated with the Executive Director of the HRC to hire 4 additional Investigators (for a total of 7).
Per the resolution, the Human Rights Commission can now intake all complaints of police misconduct in addition to the mediums that previously existed: Mail complaint to IAB, file complaint with local precinct, call IAB directly, or fax the complaint to IAB.