Some Community Members Speak Out Against Tompkins Co. Police Reform Plan

Some community members speak out against Tompkins Co. Police Reform Plan

Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca approved a Reimagining public safety plan last year. The county says the goal of the plan is to increase transparency in the local criminal justice system. This plan has received mixed reviews from some in law enforcement and the community. At Tuesday night's meeting, the public shared some of their feedback about the plan.

Many expressed their views about overall safety in Ithaca. Some residents say they just simply don't feel safe. One community member explained public safety in Ithaca is crumbling.

"Since living here I have experienced a family member that was burglarized and sexually assaulted by a member of the encampment. I've had a member of the encampment enter my home uninvited," Michael Fenner said.

He expressed his concern to city council members about the crime and violence in the city.

So how did the city get here is the question on many residents' minds. Supporters of this plan say it will enhance public safety and develop better relationships between the public and police. It's a chance to rethink how communities are policed, Supporters also believe it will increase transparency.

However, opponents say crime is on the rise. It won't be the right answer to the problem. Some say the city is not delivering on its end of the bargain of being open.

Zach Win a community member explained that based on documents that he obtained via a foil, members of the police board believe the Reimagining Public Safety proceedings were occurring in secret and Win agrees.

"It is clear that from the documents that have come out they were in a majority position on all meetings so I would really like to figure out what was at the heart of these meetings that are being termed secret by members of the community police board," Win said.

Council Members who are in support of the reform plan say public safety is their top priority and the reform aims to do just that.

"I wish to reassure you that there are many of us on the council that do take that as the utmost priority, making sure that everybody is safe," Patrick Mehler Council Member for the 4th ward said.

Some Council Members say Reimagining Public Safety may be the cause of the shortage of police officers and why many officers have recently exited IPD but other council members disagree.

"You mentioned Reimagining Public Safety as why we aren't getting our slots filled right, that there when I hear that it hurts me to my heart," Pheobe Brown, Council Member said.

The Tompkins County Reimagining Public Safety Plan continues to seek input from the community. The Tompkins County Reimagining Public Safety Plan continues to seek input from the community. You can submit your comments and ideas on the Reimaging Public Safety website

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