WXXI AM News

Police Training

The death of Daniel Prude in police custody has led to conversations about police training. What are officers trained to do in specific situations? Should that training be changed?

We talk with a retired Rochester Police Department sergeant and a retired Rochester Police Department lieutenant about the state of police training. Our guests:

  • Marvin Stepherson, retired sergeant with the Rochester Police Department, and adjunct professor in the Adult Pathway Program at Roberts Wesleyan College
  • Janssen Rembert, retired lieutenant with the Rochester Police Department 

We sit down with Frank Liberti and Cheryl Hayward from the Center for Dispute Settlement, focusing on police accountability in Rochester. The CDS currently evaluates cases that stem from civilian complaints. A recent report from local activists alleges that the system is broken, and that civilian complaints are almost never sustained. CDS disagrees; however, CDS has made its own recommendations for how to improve the system. Our guests explain:

  • Frank Liberti, president and CEO of the Center for Dispute Settlement
  • Cheryl Hayward, director of the Police and Community Relations Program at the Center for Dispute Settlement

A new report takes a look at how police accountability works or doesn't work in Rochester. The report is called "The Case for an Independent Police Accountability System." It was written by Barbara Lacker-Ware and Theodore Forsyth. 

The report looks at years of data regarding how police handle civilian complaints regarding allegations of brutality and misconduct. The report found that from 2002 to 2015, only two percent of civilian complaints of unnecessary force were sustained by the Chief of Police, and only five percent were sustained by the Civilian Review Board.

Lacker-Ware and Forsyth say there is a breakdown in the system, but critics say their report pushes too hard, and misunderstandings need to be addressed.

Lacker-Ware and Forsyth join us in studio to break down the report and its recommendations.

RPD Says Viral Video Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

Oct 29, 2015
Michelle Faust

Rochester Police say they’re investigating an incident that resulted in a 15-second viral video of 5 officers taking down a man in the middle of Main Street. RPD’s initial findings are that the officers’ actions were in line with their training.

Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli says every use of force by an officer is reviewed and this case is still being looked at.

According to the department’s initial analysis, the man subdued by police on Tuesday behaved in a violent and threatening manner.

In this hour, we discuss police, tactics, and what constitutes an appropriate response to violent situations. In the wake of Ferguson, many Americans are discussing what they want and expect from their local police department. When is it appropriate to use military-style gear? We welcome our experienced panel:

  • Mark Concordia, Director Criminal Justice Administration Program, Roberts Wesleyan College (Professor Concordia spent 13 years with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, worked in corrections, federal law enforcement, and with the Greece Police Department)
  • Marvin Stepherson, Roberts Wesleyan College (Professor Stepherson has helped develop a curriculum for an Ethic and Social Diversity course at RWC in the Criminal Justice Administration program. He recently retired from RPD after many years of dedicated service to some of the most challenged neighborhoods in Rochester)
  • David Morabito, attorney

Latest Class of RPD Cadets Is Most Diverse

Feb 10, 2014
Michelle Faust

The latest class of recruits to the Rochester Police Department is the most diverse in history. Monday, Interim Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli swore in 25 new cadets at the Public Safety Training Facility.

This class is made up of 60 percent minority recruits and includes 4 female cadets. Ciminelli says it’s the direct result of a concerted effort by the city to recruit a police force that reflects Rochester's demographics.

Need to Know Rochester - August 15, 2013

Aug 16, 2013

On this edition of Need to Know Rochester:

▪ Penfield Superintendent Steve Grimm gives his take on how the District beat out many others in the area on recent state test results

▪ A look at local training to help police officers respond to 9-1-1 calls involving mentally unstable residents

▪ Black history meets classical music in the Gateways Music Festival celebrating its 20th anniversary this week

▪ Buffalo Bills Offensive Lineman, Eric Wood, discusses his new leadership role on the team

This Week on Need to Know Rochester - 8.15.13

Aug 14, 2013

Coming up this week on Need to Know Rochester:

▪ A look at how Penfield Central School District scores beat out other area districts in recent state tests

▪ Local training improves police response to the mentally ill

▪ Gateways Music Festival celebrates 20th anniversary this week

▪ A conversation with Buffalo Bills Offensive Lineman, Eric Wood