NYPD community reform meetings start tonight; commissioner calls it 'unique opportunity'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The NYPD is partnering with several organizations to transform the future of New York City policing - and a series of community meetings as part of that partnership starts Wednesday night.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the new partnership with the New York Urban League, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and Robin Hood to engage communities and people who live, work and serve throughout the city. It's part of the department's ongoing effort to ensure public safety that is fair, responsive to and considerate of all New Yorkers.

Over the next four weeks, officials say eight community meetings in all five boroughs will be held as a springboard to collect input critical to transformation. This joint effort between Commissioner Shea, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the advisors will respond to and extend beyond Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.

Cuomo signed an executive order requiring all police in the state -- including the NYPD -- to develop a plan that "reinvents and modernizes police strategies" and implement it by April 1. The order was mandated during the June protests in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

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"With a sustained focus over the last nearly seven years, NYPD leaders have worked to reinforce our basic mission of keeping people safe while building trust with the New Yorkers we serve," Shea said. "In law enforcement, if you aren't striving to improve, then you shouldn't be in this line of work. This new effort, with these critical partners, is vital to making the Police Department stronger, fairer and more transparent."

De Blasio says the NYPD is fundamentally different than it was nearly seven years ago.

"By working with New Yorkers we have strengthened the bond between community and police for good," the mayor said. "But we know there is always more work to do to repair trust and address historical inequities. I am proud to work with Commissioner Shea and our partners to make sure every New Yorker on every block feels the safety they deserve."

Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, added that there is a "moral imperative to work to make sure the community voices are heard and New Yorkers feel safe and respected no matter the neighborhood that they reside."

"This year our city and our nation faced a health, economic and a criminal justice crisis paving the way for reflection and reform," Rice said. "The Statewide and mandated Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative' is a welcome opportunity to engage in this process learning from New Yorkers as well as experiences and practices around the country. Working with Commissioner Shea, NYPD, the Mayor's Office, the City Council, and my colleagues is a role I take with great responsibility and commitment to create recommendations that can truly improve our great city."

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The city's police reform and reinvention collaborative will hold eight virtual meetings, starting tomorrow on Staten Island and concluding Oct 30 in Manhattan.

Each meeting will be streamed live from a neighborhood site.

The meetings will "collect input" from the community "to transform NYC policing to be safer and fairer for all concerned."

The department says this plan goes further than the governor's mandate. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called it meetings "a unique opportunity."

"I'm excited," Shea said. "There have been task forces before and there have been committees, and there probably will be again. This is not a check box. It's an opportunity, at a unique point in time to really work together. What a shame it would be if we didn't take every advantage of the unique point in time right now to get it right."

Community Meetings

There will be eight sessions, one in each NYPD patrol borough. Each meeting will be two hours, from 7 p.m.- 9 p.m., in an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant location with access to public transportation. In-person attendance will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forums will be live-streamed to maximize participation. Video of each meeting will be posted on the NYPD's YouTube channel for later viewing. The vast majority of time at each meeting will be spent listening to comments and questions from community participants. Public feedback will also be sought through a survey that will be distributed at the forums and online. Input from members of the Police Department will also be solicited through departmental communications.

Schedule of Meetings
- Wednesday, October 14 in Staten Island
- Friday, October 16 in northern Queens
- Monday, October 19 in southern Queens
- Wednesday, October 21 in the Bronx
- Friday, October 23 in northern Brooklyn
- Monday, October 26 in southern Brooklyn

- Wednesday, October 28 in northern Manhattan
- Friday, October 30 in southern Manhattan

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