The City of Rochester has entered a partnership with the Coalition for Police Reform – Community Justice Advisory Board to create more transparency in the Rochester Police Department's Body Worn Camera Program. Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli says more than 500 cameras have been used by officers since March, producing between 35,000 and 42,000 videos every month.

While national studies in previous years have shown the use of body worn cameras contributed to a decrease in complaints against police and use of force by officers, a rigorous study in Washington, D.C. released in October indicated that the cameras had no impact on citizen complaints or police officers' use of force.

This hour, we discuss what's next for the Body Worn Camera Program in Rochester, and the impact the cameras have on policing at the national level. In studio:

  • Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli
  • Lt. Michael Perkowksi, head of the RPD's Body Worn Camera program
  • Iman Abid, member of the Coalition for Police Reform and chapter director of the Genesee Valley office of the ACLU of NY
  • Mike Bleeg, member of the Coalition for Police Reform

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.

Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli and Commander Joseph Morabito join us in studio to discuss the events of the past week and their views of the relationship between police and the community. You can also watch this program on Facebook Live.

Rochester police are getting ready to use body cameras. How will they work?

The cameras will be operational in July, and we talk to Chief Michael Ciminelli and Captain Kevin Costello about how the BWC project is laid out. (BWC is the city's shorthand for "Body Worn Cameras.")

We take listener questions about the approach, when the cameras will be turned on and off, when the public will be allowed to see pieces of video, and more. Our guests:

  • Chief Michael Ciminelli
  • Captain Kevin Costello

RPD To Swap Guns for Wegmans Cards

Nov 6, 2015

It's been a while since the city tried a gun buyback. Rochester Police firearms trainer Officer Daniel Carlson says that ends Saturday.

"We have a fair amount of firearms crime in the city and our goal is to get some of those illegal handguns off the streets."

Police, with help from Wegmans, will collect unwanted, unused or even stolen guns: no questions asked. Carlson asks that you do it safely.

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.

Leaders from several faith-based organizations have called for a full investigation into the death of a Rochester man. Fifty year-old Richard Davis died after being stunned with a taser by RPD Officer Thomas Frye. Frye has been relegated to administrative duties since the incident, but Reverend Lewis Stewart says that does not go far enough.

Stewart, who is President of the United Christian Leadership Ministry, wants police to put down their tasers, for now.

"Protocol involving the use of tasers needs to be re-examined."

A Rochester man died after being subdued with a Taser on Sunday. Details about Richard Davis' exact cause of death have yet to be released, but local groups and witnesses have voiced concerns about the role the instrument may have played in his death.

Conductive Energy Devices, or CEDs, have been involved in over 500 deaths since 2001, according to Amnesty International, but whether or not they are the cause of those deaths is a disputed issue.

Testimony continues in the trial of Thomas Johnson III, the man charged with killing Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson. Pierson's partner, Officer Michael DiPaola, is the second to last witness for the prosecution.

DiPaola took the stand in plain clothes, before a packed courtroom. In his testimony, DiPaola described details about an event that so far the jury in this case has only seen through surveillance footage, forensic evidence, and shot spotter audio.