CGR Offers City of New Rochelle Police Oversight Options

New Rochelle

CGR recently completed an engagement with the City of New Rochelle and the Community Police Partnership Board (CPPB) that assessed stakeholder perceptions about community/police relations and analyzed data on citizens’ complaints about New Rochelle Police Department officers. We conducted interviews with representatives from police oversight models in New York including Albany, New York City, Village of Ossining and Schenectady , as well as and members from Westchester County’s Police Reform Task Force about a county-level civilian review board.

Of 169 allegations filed by civilians over five years (2018-2022) in New Rochelle, misuse of authority was the most common complaint. Twenty-three percent of total allegations over three years were substantiated (meaning the officer(s) acted improperly). Among stakeholders we interviewed, community residents expressed the most support for the creation of a Citizens Complaint Review Board (CCRB) while police indicated the least.

Our interviews with Ossining, Albany and Schenectady found they use a combination of oversight models, including review-focused (where the board reviews and opines on internal police investigations and findings about complaints) and investigative-focused (where board conduct independent investigations into complaints). New York City also has an auditor-monitor approach focused on the systematic review of data to examine high-level trends regarding police conduct. In addition, there is an effort to establish a countywide independent agency in Westchester County to investigate complaints about police in municipalities that opt into the process.

Based on our analysis of the complaint data, stakeholder input and information from other localities in New York, CGR recommended that the City of New Rochelle adopt a review-focused police oversight model to help build trust and transparency between the community and the New Rochelle Police Department (NRPD). This choice balances the community’s desire for an independent review of police misconduct complaints with the administration concerns about cost and broad powers. However, the CCRB would have limited power to determine police misconduct outcomes. The Community Police Partnership Board is now weighing its next steps.

To learn more about this project, contact Donna Harris

November 14, 2023 CGR Briefs Edition


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