Chief Brenner Denounces ‘Practices
That Hurt, Demean, Destroy Trust’
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The mayor and a senior Council member have already opened conversations with Police Chief Doug Brenner on how to review departmental operations in the wake of nationwide unrest following the May 25 death of George Floyd while being taking into custody in Minneapolis.
“First of all, I have confidence in our police chief and police department,” Mayor Gary Herzig said a few minutes ago. “However, this is a time for all of us to do a little introspection and self-awareness and take a look at our operating procedures and our policies to make sure they are designed to do everything that we can to guard against any type of inequality in how we treat the public.”
He expects to be able to announce the form of the review – whether a commission, audit of OPD procedures, through Common Council or some other means – by the end of this week.
“I initiated it,” said Council member David Rissberger. “There have been a lot of questions based on what happened to Mr. George Floyd.”
Rissberger said he raised the issue of an OPD review after reading a lively debate on the OHS Alumni Association Facebook page. He learned from the discussion, and in a conversation with Oneonta NAACP Vice President Michelle Osterhoudt, a former Common Council colleague, that the national NAACP has four recommendations to consider in such a review that City Hall may use as a guide.
Brenner wasn’t immediately available to talk about this initiative, but in a Letter to the Editor that will appear in this week’s Hometown Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal, he stated, “Our effectiveness increases with community support and open dialogue. We want to hear your concerns and use them as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
“We will stand with you in every aspect of denouncing practices that hurt, demean and destroy trust in our agency and work to ensure those practices do not occur in the City of Oneonta,” Brenner wrote.