ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s Police Accountability Board has released an 85-page budget proposal that aims to make the agency “a national model for community oversight of policing.”
PAB officials say the proposal represents more six months of research into best practices, budgets, case processing systems, and other features of civilian oversight agencies across the country.
“Real change takes real resources,” said PAB Chair Shani Wilson. “For every $20 it currently spends on policing, we’re asking the City to invest at least $1 in accountability. Given the millions the City is spending on policing-related legal fees, settlements, and protests each year, this investment is certain to not only keep our citizens safe, but save our city money in the long term.”
The proposal requests approximately $5 million to fund three bureaus within the PAB: A Bureau of Officer Accountability which would investigate hundreds of annual complaints, a Bureau of Systemic Change which would oversee all aspects of policing while creating a stream of “community-driven, evidence-based proposals for change,” and a Bureau of Administration would ensure the PAB’s operations are accessible, fully functional, legally sound, and used by the community.
“Investigations into allegations of police misconduct can be fair and swift – or they can be shoddy and slow,” said PAB Executive Director Conor Dwyer Reynolds. “Oversight of police practices can be deep and thorough – or it can be shallow and brief. Proposals for change can be frequent and evidence-based – or they can be rare and lightweight. In every case, the difference always comes down to funding. By releasing this proposal, we hope to show what it takes to do the job our community has tasked us with.”
The PAB’s proposal will be included in the overarching City of Rochester budget which City Council will vote on later this year.