Suffolk police reform plan calls for standard use of body cameras, changes to traffic stop protocol
Suffolk County unveiled its police reform plan on Thursday, a step that was mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year following the protests about the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The plan proposes that body cameras be used as standard police equipment for all Suffolk County police officers who engage with the public.
One of the biggest proposed changes is that Suffolk police "will no longer conduct vehicle searches on routine traffic stops based solely on the vehicle operator's consent."
Suffolk police say the plan will also promote diversity in recruiting and staffing, and continuing education and community policing training.
Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart described the over 1,000-page plan as "a major paradigm shift."
Police reform advocates Shanequa Levin and Deborah Little say they're pleased that Suffolk's plan partners police with mental health experts.
However, Little and Levin say there are also flaws. They point to how the plan creates a Human Rights Commission but not a full Civilian Complaint Review Board with subpoena power to investigate claims against officers.
Levin says she thinks Suffolk "missed the mark on that."
Attorney Fred Brewington, who has been leading the charge in police reform on Long Island, says he agrees this is a major issue in the plan.
"It can't be what they're suggesting, that the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Police Department
is the one that still conducting the investigations and making determinations about who should be interviewed," he says.
Brewington and other advocates recently presented both counties with their own plan called the "People's Plan."
Levin and Little say they will spend the weekend further reviewing Suffolk's plan.
The Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association expressed support for the plan and says it is one the union is "comfortable" with.
The Suffolk County police reform report can be read in full here.