Emotions run high at Lewis County police reform meeting

Lewis County police reform

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Voices were raised at Lewis County’s police reform and collaborative meeting on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered communities to submit police reform plans by April 1.

Sheriff Mike Carpinelli was arguing with police reform committee members over training deputies.

The state wants local police departments to begin incorporating de-escalation and implicit bias training.

Carpinelli argues low funding is a barrier to increase training.

“When we pull people in for training, that means we are pulling people from duties, possibly also so we have to fill that with overtime as well, too, so a lot of overtime is always encompassed with training,” the sheriff said.

Committee members like county manager Ryan Piche questioned what ongoing training has been done in the past.

“We don’t have much information in terms of additional things that are happening on an annual or semiannual or every-five-year basis, that type of thing,” Piche said.

Carpinelli says the deputies do have domestic violence training on a yearly basis as well as firearms training twice a year.

But beyond that, he says insufficient manpower plays a role in trying to do more.

“I send two guys to training, I now pull two men from someplace else, another shift,” Carpinelli said. “And now I short that patrol with less manpower to cover the two that Isent to training. You see, I don’t have enough people to do that.”

Other committee members defended Carpinell’s stance, such as District Attorney Leanne Moser.

“While you need them to go to training and continuing their skillset and their enhancement of their performance each time,”” she said, “we have to offset that from the county perspective of replacing them or having their position covered.”

The committee also discussed ways to better monitor training in the future.

The reforms this committee decides will be shown at a public forum within the next two weeks.

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