ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — During City Council budget hearings Monday night, the council heard from the Police Accountability Board. The exchanges became heated at times, with officials asking the board what exactly they’re doing, citing little progress in one major area: taking complaints from the public.
Councilman Willie Lightfoot not holding back when it came to questioning the PAB. “What do you guys do over there?” he asked.
Lightfoot says if they’re close to being fully staffed, why are they still not taking any complaints from the public or doing full investigations?
“…why should the City continue to fund this agency at such a high level?” asked Lightfoot. There was a pause, then Lightfoot said “crickets”.
Their Chief of Investigations, Duwaine Bascoe, spoke up, saying it comes down to a number of things, including staffing, software delays, and clarity on regulations.
“Now the rules of investigations have been passed by PAB’s board, however, RPD has yet to weigh in,” said Bascoe.
Bascoe says the police won’t even meet with them. Lightfoot asked his question again, wondering where the blame is, “It’s because of the charter, RPD, City Council…?”
Councilman Mitch Gruber said he didn’t want to sound crass– but it seems like the body has many barriers to getting things done. “Everything is external forces?” he asked the board.
The PAB says there are delays, and they remain committed.
Councilman Jose Peo asked out of a $5 million dollar budget, how much have they spent? The numbers were not readily available.
Councilman Miguel Melendez says this all boils down to one thing: “Complaints. Get to complaints.” He says all the other things PAB wants to do, he gets it– but…”If you’re not doing complaints, you’re not doing the will of the people.”
It was determined the PAB will begin taking complaints from the public starting in June.
The entire budget meeting was over three hours, with the Police Accountability portion running a half hour. This article is a summary of events, click here to watch the exchange with the PAB.