Village of Groton, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Groton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-19-1980 by resolution]
A Board of Police Commissioners is hereby created, consisting of three members, one of which shall be the Police Commissioner-Trustee of the Village of Groton, and the remaining two members shall be appointed from the community at large.
In the first instance, appointments shall be for a term of one, two and three years, respectively. Thereafter, the term of office of each member shall be for three years.
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
The Village Board member shall serve as Chairperson of this Board.
[Amended 12-10-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990; 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
The annual fee for serving on this Board shall be at a rate to be determined by the Board of Trustees, not less than $50 per year, per member.
[Amended 7-27-1987 by resolution]
A. 
At the first meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners held in the month of April of each year, the Police Commissioners shall organize as a Board under the Chairmanship of the Police Commissioner-Trustee.
B. 
Meetings.
(1) 
The Board of Police Commissioners shall hold regular and special meetings at such time as the Board may determine from time to time; provided, however, that in any event, the Board shall meet at least six times during any year.
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
(2) 
A quorum of the Board of Police Commissioners shall be comprised of two members, at least one of whom shall be the Police Commissioner-Trustee.
(3) 
The Board of Police Commissioners shall comply with the requirements of the Open Meetings Law of the State of New York[1] in all respects, including, without limitation, notice of meetings and the transaction of business in public meetings.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Officers Law § 100 et seq.
C. 
A Police Commissioner shall be a resident of the Village of Groton, shall be over the age of 18 and shall be a citizen of the United States of America. Each Police Commissioner shall hold office for the length of his or her term and until a successor shall have been chosen and qualified. Vacancies in the office of Police Commissioner shall be filled in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Village Law of the State of New York.
D. 
On its own initiative or at the request of the Mayor or the Village Board of Trustees, the Board of Police Commissioners shall make recommendations to the Village Board of Trustees on any matter affecting the policies of or performance of the Village Police Department and shall, subject to the overall limitations of jurisdiction of the Board of Police Commissioners, perform such other duties as shall be specifically requested by the Mayor or the Village Board of Trustees.
E. 
The Board of Police Commissioners shall have the following additional powers:
(1) 
The Board of Police Commissioners may prefer charges to the Village Board of Trustees against any member of the Police Department for violation of the rules, regulations or procedures of the Police Department or violations of law by members of the Police Department.
(2) 
Subject to the approval of the Village Board of Trustees and consistent with the laws, rules and regulations of the State of New York, the Board of Police Commissioners may prescribe rules, regulations, orders and bylaws for the operation of the Police Department and the conduct of members of the Police Department. The Mayor or, in the absence of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor shall exercise immediate control and direction of the Police Department and/or its members pursuant to such rules, regulations, orders and bylaws as are promulgated by the Board of Police Commissioners and approved by the Village Board of Trustees.
F. 
The Board of Police Commissioners, as a whole or as individuals, shall not act as a supervisory authority over the Police Department or individual members of the Police Department.
[Adopted 7-11-1988 by resolution]
Every person shall have the right to present his grievance in accordance with procedure herein, free from interference, coercion, restraint, discriminations or reprisal, and shall have the right to be represented by a person of his own choosing at stages of the grievance procedure.
When used in these procedures, the following words shall be given the following meanings:
BOARD
The Village of Groton Board of Police Commissioners. The Board shall be composed of three persons appointed by the Mayor. If only two of the Police Commissioners are available, the third position will be occupied temporarily by the Mayor or, in the absence of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor for the duration of the hearing. Two concurring votes shall be necessary to take any action on behalf of the Board.
GRIEVANCE
Any claimed violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of the existing laws, rules, procedures, regulations, administrative orders or work rules of the Department of Police, Village of Groton, New York.
NOTICE
Mailing the statement to the last known address of the person provided with notice, with first-class postage prepaid. Notice shall be completed upon mailing.
OFFICER IN CHARGE
The police officer who is duly appointed by the Mayor and the Board of Trustees to act as the official head and officer of highest rank of the Police Department.
[Added 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A person who claims a grievance must file his or her grievance with the Village Mayor at the Municipal Building, 108 Cortland Street, Groton, New York, within 90 days after the occurrence constituting the grievance. The Mayor may waive the ninety-day limitation at his or her discretion if he or she believes that the actions of the officer which form the basis for the grievance would, if proven in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, constitute a crime. The grievance shall be submitted as a written affidavit by the complainant and shall contain the following information:
A. 
The name and residence of the person presenting the grievance.
B. 
The name and names of each police officer involved in the grievance, if known.
C. 
The names and residences of any witnesses to the occurrence constituting the grievance.
D. 
A concise statement of the nature of the grievance and the facts relating to said grievance.
[1]
Editor's Note: The police grievance form is available at the Municipal Building.
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
A. 
Unless the complaint is against the Officer in Charge of the Police Department, the Mayor will deliver the complaint to the Officer in Charge within two days after the filing of the complaint. If the grievance is against the Officer in Charge, the grievance will be assigned to an individual Police Commissioner by the Mayor within two days after the filing of the complaint. The Officer in Charge (or Police Commissioner) will provide written notice to the police officer involved. The notice will contain the following information:
(1) 
A statement that the officer is the subject of a citizen complaint.
(2) 
A copy of the complaint.
(3) 
The time and date of the informal meeting that the Officer in Charge (or Commissioner) will hold with the complainant to discuss the complaint.
B. 
The notice will be provided to the police officer (or Officer in Charge) and the complainant not more than five days after the filing of the complaint.
C. 
The Officer in Charge (or Commissioner) will then meet with the citizen and may:
(1) 
Clarify the nature of the complaint and possibly assist the complainant to reword the complaint.
(2) 
Request assistance from the Board of Police Commissioners to further investigate the complaint.
(3) 
Request a written voluntary statement from the officer involved on the occurrence.
D. 
The possible results of the informal meeting can be:
(1) 
Voluntary dismissal of the complaint (e.g., the complainant is satisfied with an explanation of the policy or does not wish to proceed any further in the process).
(2) 
Dismissal of the complaint because of lack of merit (e.g., frivolous complaint).
(3) 
An agreement to attempt some form of conciliation.
(4) 
Referral to the Board for a hearing directed at departmental policy or procedure (officer exonerated).
(5) 
Referral to the Board for a hearing which could result in disciplinary action being recommended against the officer.
(6) 
Referral to the Board for both hearings referred to in Subsection D(4) and (5) (officer not exonerated).
(7) 
Referral to the Mayor for possible civil service or criminal action.
E. 
The Officer in Charge (or Commissioner) shall provide written notice of the outcome of the informal meeting to both the police officer and the complainant within five days of the filing of the Officer in Charge's (or Commissioner's) decision with the Mayor. If the Officer in Charge (or Commissioner) either dismisses the complaint because of lack of merit or refers the matter to the Board for a hearing directed at departmental policy or procedure, the complainant may ask the full Board for a hearing which could result in disciplinary action being recommended against the officer. The complainant shall file a written request for a hearing with the Mayor within 10 days of the notice.
F. 
If the Officer in Charge (or Commissioner) does not dismiss the complaint or civil service or criminal action is not contemplated [referred to in Section 47-9(D)(7)], he or she will initiate the grievance procedure outlined in § 47-10.
A. 
The Board shall hold a hearing within two weeks after the filing of the decision with the Mayor. The Board shall give at least five days' written notice of the time and place of such a hearing to all parties involved.
B. 
The Board of Police Commissioners shall not be bound by formal rules of evidence, but all testimony shall be given under oath.
C. 
If the decision of the Officer in Charge (or individual Commissioner) was to refer the matter to the Board for a hearing on a policy or procedure question only, the Board will notify both the complainant and the officer, in writing, that the officer's behavior has been exonerated but that the Board will hold a hearing to discuss the policy questions raised by the incident. Both the complainant and the officer will be invited to the hearing to give a statement or answer questions. If either does not wish to appear in person, the Board may ask them for a written statement.
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
D. 
If the matter is referred to the Board for a hearing which could result in a disciplinary recommendation, both the complainant and the officer will be notified in writing.
E. 
The complainant's notice shall contain the following information:
(1) 
That the complainant may be present with an attorney.
(2) 
That the complainant may testify before the Board. If the complainant testifies, the complainant may be asked questions under oath by members of the Board, the officer and the representative of the officer.
(3) 
That the complainant may call witnesses to testify before the Board on the complainant's behalf or may present other forms of evidence, such as documents, records or photographs.
(4) 
That the complainant will be allowed to ask questions of other witnesses who may testify.
(5) 
That the hearing will be held in a public session of the Board unless a closed session is requested by the police officer against whom the grievance has been filed.
(6) 
That the hearing will be conducted informally. The rules of evidence will not be strictly followed. However, the Board may make rulings from time to time restricting questioning to ensure fairness and order. All testimony given at the hearing will be under oath.
F. 
The officer's notice shall contain the following information:
(1) 
That the officer may be present with the officer's attorney.
(2) 
That the officer may testify before the Board. If the officer testifies, the officer may be asked questions under oath by members of the Board, the complainant and the representative of the complainant.
(3) 
That the officer may call witnesses to testify before the Board on the officer's own behalf or may present other forms of evidence, such as documents, records or photographs.
(4) 
That the officer or the officer's representative will be allowed to ask questions of other witnesses who may testify.
(5) 
That the hearing will be held in a public session of the Board unless the officer requests otherwise.
(6) 
That the hearing will be conducted informally. The rules of evidence will not be strictly followed. However the Board may make rulings from time to time restricting questioning to ensure fairness and order. All testimony given at the hearing will be under oath.
(7) 
That the hearing before the Board could result in the recommendation of disciplinary action against the officer.
[Amended 3-19-2007 by L.L. No. 2-2007]
The Board shall make its report, in writing, within seven days after the close of the hearing, to the Mayor. After the Mayor has acted upon the recommendations contained in said report, he shall provide official copies of the report to the complainant and any persons named in the complaint, each member of the Village Board of Trustees, the Board, ranking police Officer in Charge of the Village Police Department, the Village Clerk (and/or Administrator), the Village Attorney or attorney for the Village, and the Civil Service Commissioner. The report shall include a statement of the Board's findings of fact, conclusions and advisory recommendations and any actions of the Mayor and/or Village Board of Trustees. If the police officer is found guilty of the charge in the complaint, a copy of the charges, the police officer's written answer and, if any, a transcript of the hearing and the report of the Board shall be filed in the office of the Mayor and the Civil Service Commission. A transcript of the hearing shall be furnished to the police officer without charge if the police officer so requests.
The complainant or the police officer against whom such grievance has been filed may, by written application, request a rehearing on any grievance heard by the Board. A written application shall be filed with the Village Clerk within 12 months of the filing of the report with the Mayor or, where applicable, within 12 months of the dismissal of the police officer, whichever is later. The written application shall state the name of the police officer against whom the grievance has been filed, the date of the original hearing on the matter, the date the report was filed in the office of the Mayor and the reasons given for the request for rehearing. The Board shall decide whether to grant or deny the application for rehearing within 20 days of its filing. The decision of whether to grant or deny the application shall be at the sole discretion of the Board.
Any member of the police force found guilty upon charges of neglect or dereliction in the performance of official duty or violation of rules and regulations or disobedience, or incompetency to perform official duty or act of delinquency seriously affecting his or her general character or fitness for office may be punished by the Mayor or, in his absence, by the Deputy Mayor by reprimand, forfeiture and the withholding of salary or compensation for a specified time not exceeding 20 days and the withholding of salary and compensation during such suspension or by dismissal from the Department. The Mayor or, in his absence, the Deputy Mayor, shall have the power to suspend without pay for a period not to exceed 30 days, pending trial of the charges, any member of the police force. If any member of such police force so suspended shall not be convicted by the Board of the charges so preferred, he or she shall be entitled to full pay from the date of suspension, notwithstanding such charges and suspension.