[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Newburgh 7-14-2014 by Ord. No. 1-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Police Department — See Ch. 80.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 72, Police Community Relations Advisory Council, adopted 9-23-1991 by Ord. No. 38-91, as amended.
The City Council of the City of Newburgh finds that it is in the public interest of the citizens of the City of Newburgh have an effective forum to improve the relationship between the community and the City of Newburgh Police Department through the exchange of ideas and discussion of problems within the City relating to crime and crime prevention and other law enforcement objectives.
The City Council further finds that it is important to have a method by which City residents can make requests for law-enforcement-related services.
The City Council further finds that an effective program to improve the relationship between the community and the City of Newburgh Police Department requires an independent authority to review the conduct of law enforcement officials.
The purpose of Chapter 72 of the City Code of Ordinances is to create an independent, nonexclusive body to review complaints of misconduct by members of the City of Newburgh Police Department. The goals of this chapter are to improve the communication between the City of Newburgh Police Department and the community, to increase police accountability and credibility with the public and to create a fair and impartial complaint process.
For purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning described in this section:
- The Police Chief of the City of Newburgh Police Department.
- A written statement concerning police conduct which is submitted to the Police Community Relations and Review Board or filed directly with the City of Newburgh Police Department.
- IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- Spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent.
- A structured dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party assists the disputants to reach a negotiated settlement of their differences.
- Sworn member of the City of Newburgh Police Department.
- Police Community Relations and Review Board.
- PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
- Administrative Lieutenant of the City of Newburgh Police Department.
There is hereby established a Police Community Relations and Review Board comprised of nine members.
Appointment to the PCRRB shall be made as follows:
Two members from each of the four wards shall be appointed by the Council member elected from each ward.
One member shall be appointed by the City Council, and such member shall be designated as the Chair of the PCRRB.
If a Council member fails or refuses to appoint a member to the PCRRB under § 72-3B(1) and a vacancy exists for more than 60 days from the date the notice of vacancy is provided to the City Council by the PCRRB Chair, then the City Council as a whole may make such appointment.
When a PCRRB vacancy has existed for at least 60 days from the date the notice of vacancy is provided to the City Council by PCRRB Chair and the City Council has not acted to make an appointment to fill such vacancy, the PCRRB, by a simple majority, shall have the right to nominate person(s) for review and appointment by the City Council.
Members shall be appointed for two-year terms; provided, however, that of the members initially appointed by the Council member representing a ward, one shall be for a term of one year and one shall be for a term of two years.
No member of the PCRRB shall serve for a period which exceeds two full consecutive terms; provided, however, that a member may be considered for reappointment after one year of nonmembership.
Members shall continue to serve on the PCRRB until their successors are appointed.
The PCRRB, by a simple majority vote of the entire Board, may upon good cause request that the City Council remove a PCRRB member where appropriate.
The Mayor and/or a City Council member may upon good cause request that the City Council remove a PCRRB member.
PCRRB members may be removed from the PCRRB by a majority plus one vote of the City Council.
Vacancies. Any vacancy which occurs by resignation, death or removal of a PCRRB member shall be filled within 60 days in the same manner as the predecessor to fill the unexpired term.
Qualifications of members:
Members of the PCRRB shall reside in the City of Newburgh and be at least 18 years old at the time of appointment.
Members of PCRRB shall possess a reputation for fairness, integrity and responsibility and have demonstrated an active interest in public affairs and service.
The City Council shall endeavor to reflect the City's diverse community with respect to age, disability, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, income level and experience in making their appointments.
Members of the PCRRB or members of their immediate family shall not be employed by the City of Newburgh Police Department or any local, state or federal law enforcement agency.
Members of the PCRRB shall not be members of the immediate family of any incumbent elected official of the City of Newburgh nor have any financial ties with either members of the City of Newburgh Police Department or any incumbent elected official of the City of Newburgh.
No practicing attorney or member of his or her firm, or the immediate family of an attorney or member of his or her family who represents a plaintiff or defendant in a police misconduct lawsuit initiated against the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Police Chief of the City of Newburgh or the Newburgh PBA or a plaintiff or any family member of a plaintiff in such case shall be a member of the PCRRB.
Member responsibilities: PCRRB members shall:
Obey all laws respecting individuals' rights of privacy and confidentiality of records.
Recuse themselves from participating in the review of any complaint in which they have a personal, professional or financial conflict of interest.
Conduct themselves at all times in a manner that will maintain public confidence in the fairness, impartiality, and integrity of the PCRRB and refrain from making any prejudicial comments with respect to the PCRRB, complainants or police officers.
Training. The PCRRB shall seek and participate in a broad and independent range of training necessary to pursue the duties and responsibilities of the PCRRB as approved and funded by the City Council.
Meetings and administration.
The PCRRB shall adopt and the City Council shall approve rules and bylaws for the transaction of PCRRB affairs, including the manner of calling and giving notice of special meetings and the appointment and duties of any special committees.
The PCRRB shall hold regular monthly business meetings.
Five members of the PCRRB shall constitute a quorum. A quorum must be present to conduct business. Five votes shall be required for any action by the PCRRB.
The PCRRB shall hold its initial meeting within 60 days after the initial appointments are made. At its initial meeting, the PCRRB shall fix the time and place for its regularly scheduled meetings.
The PCRRB may conduct both public and closed meetings as allowed or required by the New York State Public Officers Law, Article 7, known as the "Open Meetings Law."
The PCRRB may make recommendations to the City Council and the Police Department regarding law enforcement, crime, crime prevention and improved relations with the community.
The PCRRB shall file annual reports with the City Council, City Manager and the Police Chief which contain statistics and summaries of citizen complaints, including a comparison of the PCRRB's findings with the final determination of the City of Newburgh Police Department.
Community outreach and education. In addition to regular monthly business meetings, the PCRRB shall hold public meetings in each ward a minimum of once each year for the purposes of inviting and facilitating public discussion between the City of Newburgh Police Department and City residents regarding law enforcement and services, crime and crime prevention and community relations within the City of Newburgh.
Filing of complaints. Complaints concerning police conduct shall be filed with the PCRRB and the City of Newburgh Police Department as provided in this subsection.
Complaints shall be lodged in writing on the City of Newburgh Citizen Complaint Form as reviewed and approved by the PCRRB for such purpose and shall be signed by the complainant. Complaints shall be filed with the PCRRB at the Executive Office, City Hall, 83 Broadway, Newburgh, NY, or with the City of Newburgh Police Department, 55 Broadway, Newburgh, NY. Complaint forms shall be printed in English and Spanish and shall be available at the City of Newburgh Police Department, the City Hall Executive Office and the City Clerk's Office.
A copy of each complaint filed with the PCRRB shall be forwarded to the City of Newburgh Police Department within five working days of its receipt. A copy of each complaint filed with the City of Newburgh Police Department shall be provided to the PCRRB within five working days of receipt by the Police Department.
Complaints shall be filed within six months of the date of the alleged incident giving rise to the complaint. Complaints filed after six months from the date of the alleged incident shall be returned or the PCRRB may accept and review such complaint upon an affirmative vote of five members of the PCRRB.
Review of complaints. A review of a complaint shall proceed as provided in this subsection.
Investigation of complaints.
The City of Newburgh Police Chief or his designee shall investigate every complaint filed with the City of Newburgh Police Department or the PCRRB. The Chief shall file with the PCRRB quarterly reports on the status of the investigation of each complaint.
The Police Chief or his designee shall begin its investigation of each complaint immediately upon receipt of the complaint. If the Police Chief or his designee fails to conclude the investigation within 60 days of the receipt of the complaint, he shall advise the PCRRB in writing of the status of the investigation and the estimated time for the conclusion of the investigation. Thereafter, the Police Chief or his designee shall advise the PCRRB in writing of the status of the investigation every 30 days until the conclusion of the investigation.
Within 10 working days of the conclusion of the Police Chief's investigation, he shall submit a preliminary report of his findings to the PCRRB.
After review and deliberation of the preliminary findings of the Police Chief, the PCRRB shall:
Request that the Police Chief or his designee conduct further investigation of the complaint; or
Obtain additional case-specific information from the Police Chief, including but not limited to written materials, audio- or videotapes and related documents; or
In the event that the PCRRB is dissatisfied with the extent and/or quality of the Chief's investigation, it shall promptly inform the City Council in writing of the specific deficiency of the investigation. In such event, the PCRRB may seek authorization from the City Council to conduct an investigation with the services of an outside independent investigator. The investigator shall be selected on a rotating basis from a panel of investigators comprised of certified investigators, attorneys, retired judges and similarly qualified individuals who are approved by the City Council. The use of an outside independent investigator shall be limited to complaints alleging use of excessive force or civil rights violations.
Findings of the PCRRB.
The PCRRB, after review and deliberation of an investigation, shall, by majority vote, make one of the following findings on the complaint:
Sustained: where the review disclosed sufficient facts to prove the allegations made in the complaint.
Not sustained: where the review fails to disclose sufficient facts to prove or disprove the allegation made in the complaint.
Exonerated: where the acts which provide the basis for the complaint occurred but the review shows that such acts were proper.
Unfounded: where the review shows that the act or acts complained of did not occur or were misconstrued.
Ineffective policy or training: where the matter does not involve guilt or lack thereof but rather ineffective departmental policy or training to address the situation.
No finding: where the complaint failed to produce information to further the investigation; where the investigation revealed that another agency was responsible and the complaint or complainant has been referred to that agency; where the complainant withdrew the complaint; where the complainant is unable to clarify the complaint; or where the officer is no longer employed by the City.
Mediated: where the complaint is resolved by mediation.
If the PCRRB fails to render any finding referenced above within 60 days of its receipt of the preliminary report of the Chief's findings, the complaint file shall be returned to the Chief for disposition of the matter, unless the PCRRB shall advise the Chief, the complainant and the affected officer(s) in writing of the reason for the delay in rendering its finding. In such case, the PCRRB shall provide the Chief, the complainant and the affected officer(s) with monthly updates on the status of the complaint. In any event, if the PCRRB fails to render a finding referenced above within 120 days of its receipt of the preliminary report of the Chief's findings, the complaint file shall be returned to the Chief for disposition of the matter.
A mediation process shall be established and coordinated by the PCRRB in accordance with this section.
Mediation shall be conducted at no cost to the complainant or the officer by highly trained and experienced mediators selected from a list approved by the City Council. The list of mediators shall reflect community diversity. Mediators shall be required to complete an appropriate training curriculum and continuing education on issues related to the interaction between civilians and police officers from the perspective of both the citizen and police officer.
After a complaint is filed under § 72-5 of this chapter, the complainant and the officer(s) may at any time in the review process utilize the mediation process herein to resolve the complaint by submitting a written request for mediation to the PCRRB. The mediation process also may be utilized after the complaint is referred to mediation by the PCRRB pursuant to § 72-5F(1)(d) of this chapter. In either case, the mediation shall proceed as promptly as possible after a request for mediation or a referral to mediation is made. Mediation may proceed only on the agreement of the officer with the approval of the Chief and the agreement of the complainant.
Every reasonable effort shall be made to schedule mediation during an officer's normal working hours.
Mediators shall conduct mediation sessions with officers and complainants at times and places agreed upon by the parties.
In conducting the mediation sessions, the mediators may not impose an outcome on the parties.
Mediation sessions shall be closed to the public. Matters discussed shall be confidential unless both parties agree otherwise as part of a written mediation settlement.
Statements and records disclosed during mediation may not be disclosed or introduced in evidence during any judicial or administrative proceeding, and mediators may not be compelled by subpoena to give testimony or produce anything related to the mediation.
The PCRRB and the Chief will be informed whether the mediation sessions result in a resolution of the dispute. If the mediation sessions do not result in a resolution of the dispute, the PCRRB review process referenced in this chapter shall continue to conclusion. If the mediation sessions do result in a resolution of the dispute, the PCRRB shall issue a finding of "mediated" and the allegations shall be deleted from the officer's PCRRB history.
Upon the written recommendation of the Corporation Counsel, the City Council may suspend the PCRRB review of any complaint where a separate criminal investigation is under way or where a civil action against the City is under way or pending. Upon the conclusion of such separate proceedings, the PCRRB may resume or undertake its review.
No report, finding or determination made pursuant to this chapter shall in any way conflict with or abridge the rights of complainants or officers guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the New York State Constitution or any federal or state law, rule, regulation or administrative order.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.