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Endicott Police Reform Committee introduces reform plan

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(WBNG) -- In a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Endicott's Reform and Reinvention Collaborative presented the six pillars of their draft plan.

"Building trust and legitmacy. It is about building relationships, and that's one of the first things that is very vital to the community, as well as the police department," said Pastor Ernest Collins, a member of the collaborative.

Along with building trust, other "pillars" include police and oversight, technology and social media, officer wellness and safety, and an effort toward community policing and crime reduction.

"It's important that the community looks at the police department as partners in this goal for safety," said Collins.

The last pillar focuses on training and education, improving police awareness of race and racial tensions.

"How the department can work on being more sensitive toward cultures, diverse cultures in the community," said Collins.

Some committee members say police officers are already taking steps toward building trust and relationships with residents in the community.

"They would encounter individuals that they deem at risk whether it's for homelessness, mental health, or substance use. Then we would go with them and we would outreach to them, try to connect them to shelters, substance use resources, and mental health resources," said collaborative member Christopher Scott with the Addiction Center of Broome County.

However, all members of the committee agree there is work to be done and change can be made within the department.

"I need people of color on this police department, and I need women of color on this police department so our kids can look at them and say, 'Hey, I identify with those people,'" said Endicott Police Chief Garey.

The official draft of the plan will be released on March 8. The collaborative is currently accepting responses for a community survey. You do not need to be an Endicott resident to take the survey. To read more about the collaborative, head over to their website.

Katie Jones

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