By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board tonight is scheduled to be the first of three entities in Otsego County to approve a police-reform plan ordered by the Cuomo Administration on June 12, 2020, after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests.
The trustees are scheduled to vote on a “Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Plan” certification when they meet at 6:30 this evening via Zoom. Click here to observe the meeting.
The three entities in the county with their own police departments – the City of Oneonta and Otsego County government, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department, as well as the village – are required to submit such reports by April 1.
But Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch said the village was determined to develop the plan and get it review by the public well in advance of the deadline, to ensure there were no last-minute misunderstandings.
A committee that was chaired by the main, and included Police Chief Frank Cavalieri and other stakeholders, developed the proposed plan over the fall. It was reviewed closely by the trustees on Jan. 6. On Feb. 10, the mayor discussed at a Friend of the Village Library’s Anti-Racism Speaker series, and it was aired at a public hearing the following evening.
The mayor said the most-discussed topic was the “Use of Force” policy, which prompted the trustees to put funding for three Tasers in the 2021-22 budget, along with funding for attendant training.