Division of Criminal Justice Services

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For Immediate Release: 6/2/2017

Janine Kava | janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
Justin Mason | justin.mason@dcjs.ny.gov
Press Office, Division of Criminal Justice Services | (518) 457-8828

New York State sponsors first-ever Excellence in Policing Symposium for Local, County and State Law Enforcement Executives

About 200 professionals attend training addressing contemporary issues faced by agencies,  explores topics including implicit bias, police-community relations and accreditation

Nearly 200 police chiefs, sheriffs and supervisors from local, county and state law enforcement agencies convened in Saratoga Springs today at the state’s first-ever Excellence in Policing Symposium. The training featured 10 presentations exploring issues including police-community relations, transparency of the criminal justice system and officer health and wellness – all designed to help executives stay current with trends and enhance how agencies serve and protect their communities.

Executives and supervisors from 114 police departments and sheriffs’ offices attended the symposium, developed by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in partnership with New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. The symposium builds upon leadership training the agency offered last year to police executives and this fall, the Division of Criminal Justice Services will begin its Leadership Training Initiative, a series of 19 classes focusing on management, coaching and teaching, among other topics.

Michael C. Green, executive deputy commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, “This symposium presents an excellent opportunity for law enforcement leadership to exchange ideas and learn about trends that are impacting agencies around the state and across the nation. Our hope is that educational training like this will help further the already strong relationship we have with our partners in local law enforcement.”

Added Margaret Ryan, retired chief of the Dryden (Tompkins County) Police Department and executive director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, “In addition to providing practical, relevant and timely training for executives, the symposium allows attendees from a diverse group of agencies from Long Island to the Adirondacks to Western New York to share current police practices and obtain information and resources that will enhance how their agencies serve their communities.”

The symposium featured presentations by local and national law enforcement professionals, including retired Madison (Wisc.) Police Chief Noble Wray, who recently completed a one-year assignment as head of the Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative, a project of the federal Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Wray’s presentation on implicit bias – the automatic associations and stereotypes that are made about individuals and groups of people and how it can influence policing – kicked off the second day of the symposium, which also featured a discussion of procedural justice. 

Procedural justice focuses on the way police and other law enforcement professionals interact with the public and the how those encounters shape residents’ views of law enforcement. It has four key principles: treating people with dignity and respect; giving individuals a voice during encounters; being neutral when making decisions; and conveying trust during interactions. Research has shown that procedural justice fosters trust and police legitimacy, engages communities and contributes to making communities and officers safer.

Procedural justice is a central theme of New York’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative, which aims to reduce shootings and save lives in 20 jurisdictions outside of New York City. In addition, the Division of Criminal Justice Services is offering procedural justice training to police instructors from any agency in the state for the first time. By this fall, approximately 70 instructors from agencies across the state will be prepared to teach procedural justice to current officers and new police recruits.

Topics covered during the symposium also included body-worn cameras, the benefits and drawbacks of social media, and an overview of the state’s voluntary accreditation program and strategies for maintaining the distinction.

Established in 1989, the state’s Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Program is designed to help police agencies evaluate their overall performance and provides formal recognition that they either meet or exceed general expectations of quality in the police field. The Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Council oversees the program with staff support from the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Nearly two-thirds of the 114 agencies with representatives in attendance at the symposium are accredited through the program. All told, 150 agencies across the state are accredited, employing about 60 percent of all police officers outside of New York City.

SUNY Farmingdale Police Chief Marvin Fischer, who serves as chair of the Accreditation Council, said, “Any time that chief law enforcement officers can gather to learn best practices from fellow leaders in the profession, it benefits all of the communities we individually serve. Symposium speakers are addressing current topics that are relevant to the entire criminal justice community. Attendees will then be able to return to their agencies with best practices that can be shared with the officers on the street.”

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.