Watertown lawmakers approve police reform plan

Watertown police reform plan

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Watertown city council unanimously approved the city’s proposed police reform plan ahead of next week’s deadline.

Tuesday evening’s city council meeting only lasted about five minutes, but all four members approved the plan.

“But a great job to you Mr. Mix and chief,” Mayor Jeff Smith said. “Great job, great plan.”

The plan calls for body and dashboard cameras, bias, diversity and de-escalation training, crisis intervention training, and more.

Councilwoman Lisa Ruggiero says the community backs the new plan.

“It’s all been positive, the feedback that I’ve received,” she said.

In June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order mandating that local governments develop a plan to improve policies and procedures of its police department, with a deadline of April 1.

Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says this was a good chance for the city to reflect on the police department.

“I think we’re in the position where we have the opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and as community leaders say that we expect excellence from the police department that works for us,” Henry-Wilkinson said.

Before approving the plan, Smith complimented Chief Charles Donoghue for what he says is already a well-run department.

“Like anywhere in the world, you could always have a bad apple somewhere and I think the department has done an excellent job in training the officers and assuring that we don’t have those bad apples,” Smith said, “or we find them and weed them out.”

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