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Walsh issues first executive order, 16 police reform measures

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh issued his first executive order on Friday, which includes 16 reform measures to the city’s police department. At the top of the list is implementing parts of New York City’s Right to Know Act.

The Right to Know Act requires police to identify themselves, provide written identification with officers’ names and ranks and has specific guidance on conducting searches and obtaining consent. Other reform measures include revising the city's use-of-force policy again, to comply with New York State law, banning chokeholds, even if the officer’s life is threatened.

Walsh said protests in recent weeks have sent a clear message, that people want more police reform, now.

“And as I’ve said at protests and during conversations, we hear you and we are going to move faster and continue to make more progress,” Walsh said.

Syracuse’s body camera program will now have officers record the entirety of police encounters. There are more than 100 body cameras now, but the city wants to get to 238 cameras for all patrol officers. Dashboard cameras will also be outfitted in all marked patrol vehicles.

“We know that is going to be expensive but again, when we’re looking at how we ensure the safety of those we serve and our officers, we believe dashboard cameras are an important tool to be coupled with body-worn cameras,” Walsh said.

The city will also establish parameters on police military equipment, review the department’s process for “no-knock” search warrants, and train all officers on the history of racism.

"Recent weeks have been a learning process for everyone," Walsh said. "We think it's critically important for everyone, certainly in the police department, but beyond that, in our community, has complete knowledge of the role racism has played in our city and our country."

A full list of the reforms can be found here

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.