Police reform planning benefited communities

Police reform planning benefited communities
The newest patrol vehicle for the Granville Police Department.

In the wake of the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial and one month since the requirement for Police Reform Reinvention and Collaboration plans to be submitted to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, NYVT Media followed up with Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan and Granville and Whitehall police chief Ernest Bassett Jr.

Just outside the Whitehall Police Department.

The two collectively felt Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, requiring the in-depth analysis and review of department structure and protocol as a result of the death of George Floyd in May of 2020, was a benefit for local police departments.

The process Addressed areas such as personnel and rank structure, assignment and scheduling, procedures and training that officers are required to follow and take and community involvement and allowed the villages of Granville and Whitehall to reel in public comment and assess priorities for change and improvement.

Although public participation was limited, with only two Granville residents attending one public hearing and none at the combined four, Jordan and Bassett said a focus has been placed on retrieving accessible resources for mental health and drug addiction.

“Getting better with individuals with mental health and drug addiction issues,” Jordan listed as his major takeaway from attending multiple reform sessions throughout the county. “The Whitehall-Granville-Cambridge-Greenwich gap in those resources.”

Bassett was in full agreement with Jordan and was excited to say progress has been made in having a mobile crisis unit in Washington County become more and more accessible for those who need to speak with a trained professional in an escalated situation.

“What Tony touched based on really hit the nail on the head,” Bassett said. “Things have changed since we started (the review).”

“I think the Village of Granville (and Whitehall) did a good job of taking that mandate and making it productive and meaningful,” Jordan said.