It was a struggle, but West Carthage pens its police reform plan

West Carthage police reform plan

WEST CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - For small-town police forces, reforming policies can be difficult with such few officers.

More and more police forces across the state are finishing up their police reform plan mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Thursday, the village of West Carthage’s showcased policies it has changed, but the process hasn’t been easy.

“It was a hard process,” officer in charge David Pustizzi said. “I went through all of our policies, our procedures and some of it was written, I would say, pre-computer because it was typed so I had to redo the whole thing.”

Pustizzi says his department got to work on making improvements to their procedures. Even though Pustizzi says some new changes may not be feasible for a smaller force.

“The governor was wanting to talk about restorative justice. Restorative justice is really not made for us at this level, at our police level, especially at such a small department. There is nine part-time officers who work here.”

Restorative justice helps perpetrators and victims, if willing, sit down to discuss the situation and the best way to bring a solution.

Pustizzi says that process may need to continue at a later stage in the justice system. However, Pustizzi says those officers have begun implementing other changes, participating in the newly mandated de-escalation and implicit bias awareness training.

West Carthage Mayor Scott Burto says the department has made great strides to adopt these new procedures.

“You know I think it’s a well-written plan and I think the changes you have made are very proactive for our department,” he said.

Public comment can still be made on the plan up until the village’s March meeting, where they hope to get final approval to send the plan off to Cuomo’s office by the April 1 deadline.

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