WXXI AM News

Police

Most police officers do not live in the cities they serve. That's not necessarily the case in smaller towns, but it's true in cities like Rochester and most larger cities. Is there a harm in allowing police officers to live outside the city they serve?

Now, with the national focus on improving policing, there is growing momentum for new requirements on where police live. What are the benefits to this change? Is it fair? Our guests discuss it:

  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Danielle Ponder, diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
  • Kellie McNair, co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project
  • Shane Wiegand, co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project

We’re joined by members of the United Christian Leadership Ministry to discuss police reform in America. The ministry was founded in 2010; since then, members have advocated for police accountability and policies regarding body worn cameras. Our guests share their perspectives on Rochester City Council’s recent budget vote as it relates to defunding police, and their priorities and recommendations for police reform both locally and nationally. Our guests:

  • Reverend Lewis Stewart, president of United Christian Leadership Ministry
  • Alex White, co-chair of the United Christian Leadership Ministry Community Justice Advisory Board
  • Kerry Coleman, chair of community police relations of United Christian Leadership Ministry

Does de-escalation training work? More police departments are engaging in this kind of training, which can help officers defuse volatile situations. It’s also billed as the kind of training that helps officers avoid becoming overheated themselves. So what is de-escalation all about?

Our guest is Brendan King, the CEO and founder of the Crisis Consultant Group. His organization trains companies, individuals, and police departments. He joins us for the hour.

Our guest:

  • Brendan King, the CEO and founder of the Crisis Consultant Group

Last week, Rochester City Council passed the city budget, and the subject of defunding police was a hot button issue. We're joined by members of Council who discuss their votes and their perspectives on the best ways to address police reform from a government level.

Our guests:

Gino Fanelli/CITY Newspaper

Organizers of the local Black Lives Matter movement are calling for the Rochester Police Department budget to be cut by 50 percent next fiscal year. Members of the City Council said Monday that it was not going to happen.

The call to “defund the police,” as advocates here and elsewhere refer to it, predates the protests that have erupted across the country in the weeks since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. But his death has given it new traction.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Law enforcement officers in New York will now be required to report when they discharge their weapon on the job and provide medical and mental health care to individuals in their custody under a pair of bills signed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A third law will require the state to track demographic data on arrest-related deaths and low-level offenses, including misdemeanors and violations.

On Monday, local public defenders marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As reported by WXXI's Noelle Evans, it was one of many public defender-led protests across the nation that called attention to systemic racism and police violence.

This hour, we're joined by four local African American public defenders who discuss the systemic racism they say they see in the justice system, and the reforms for which they are advocating. Our guests:

  • Danielle Ponder, diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
  • Natalie Knott, assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
  • Katherine Ejimadu, assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
  • Rob Turner, senior assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office

Irshad Altheimer is a professor of criminal justice who has been directly affected by gun violence. In 1997, a gang member opened fire on a car he was riding in with friends. Altheimer was struck by three bullets, and one of this friends was killed. Altheimer has dedicated his career to researching and addressing the roots of urban violence, and to reducing gun violence in Rochester.

He joins us to discuss his work with local law enforcement, his perspectives on police reform, and the recent BLM protests. Our guest:

  • Irshad Altheimer, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, and director of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives at RIT

Marvin Stepherson spent 25 years in policing, retiring as a police sergeant. He has become a prominent black voice in the Greater Rochester community, teaching, organizing, getting involved in politics.

Stepherson sees the challenge in recruiting more black officers to policing; he also knows that police demographics won't solve all of the existing problems. He joins us to discuss how policing could change to meet this moment of crisis.

Our guest:

  • Marvin Stepherson, retired police sergeant, and adjunct professor for criminal justice administration at Roberts Wesleyan College

We're joined by the president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, who discusses the events of the weekend, and his thoughts on proposed changes for policing.

Our guest:

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