Urgent PAB Update

City Council shared draft legislation for a Rochester Police Accountability Board with the Alliance. However, City Council’s draft fails to establish the five essential pillars of accountability that the Alliance has been demanding.

The Alliance has many problems with City Council’s draft legislation. Among the most glaring and obvious is that it significantly curtails the PAB’s independence, investigative power, and disciplinary power. Specifically:

  • Council's draft does not give the PAB real disciplinary power, but rather it leaves final disciplinary power with the Chief of police, thereby maintaining the status quo.
  • The draft severely weakens the PAB's investigative power and allows the RPD to interview all witnesses prior to the PAB, even if the witness was assaulted by an officer and the last person they want to talk to about the incident is another officer.
  • The draft does not give the community and the Alliance adequate representation on the Board to ensure that the community has control over how they are policed, thus limiting the PAB's real independence.
  • The PAB is severely underfunded which will curtail the PAB's ability to effectively and efficiently investigate and adjudicate complaints and which will likely lead to long delays for anyone filing a complaint, all the while the officers will remain on the force posing a risk to others.
  • Former RPD officers can sit on the board, which is likely to cause conflicts of interest, and which inhibits independence from the RPD.

We hope that you join us Tuesday 12/18, 6:30pm at City Hall, 30 Chruch St. to demand City Council reject this draft ordinance and bring true police accountability to Rochester.

You can read the draft ordinance here:

The City of Rochester fails to hold police officers accountable for misconduct and brutality. Between 2001 and 2016, citizens filed 923 allegations of excessive force against the RPD. The Chief of Police, who has the sole power to discipline officers, only sustained 16 of these allegations. The Chief of Police cannot be expected to investigate, evaluate, and discipline police officers. This is a clear conflict of interest. Between 2002 and 2016, only 13 allegations led to discipline.. The harshest discipline was 6 suspensions for sustained allegations of use of force. None were fired. Police misconduct will continue unless this broken system is replaced with an independent system that serves the interests of the people of Rochester, not just the RPD.

A coalition of community organizations came together in 2017 and proposed a Police Accountability Board (PAB) to replace the current broken system. The proposed PAB would be a civilian-led oversight board that is rooted in five essential pillars:

  • An independent agency of city government, separate from RPD
  • The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct
  • Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
  • Disciplinary power
  • The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.

In addition to the five pillars, sufficient funding is required so that complaints of misconduct are resolved efficiently and effectively in 90 days. To handle the volume of complaints that are filed in Rochester, the PAB will require a funding equal to 1% of RPD’s budget, one million dollars, a reasonable cost of true accountability, and an investment which will result in far fewer costly lawsuits against the city involving excessive force.

The majority of the board members of the PAB would be nominated by a coalition of the Rochester community organizations called the Police Accountability Board Alliance. The Alliance removes the conflict of interest and replaces it with a civilian-led oversight system, empowering the communities that have had no direct control over how they are policed for far too long.

Intro to PAB

Read this short explainer about the problem with police accountability in Rochester and our solution.

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Read PAB Ordinance

Read the proposed ordinance presented to City Council that can establish the PAB in Rochester.

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Donate

Donate to the #PABnow campaign. Your funds will help with this grassroots effort.

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Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the PAB:

To connect with the PAB Alliance, please contact us at alliance.pab@gmail.com

Events

Tuesday December 18
City Council Meeting6:30 pmCity Hall, 30 Church Street

The Alliance

The Police Accountability Board Alliance is a coalition of over 50 community organizations united to hold the police accountable in Rochester. The Alliance brings a diversity of perspectives and expertise to the shared struggle for police accountability. The City fails to hold police accountable largely because of the lack of community control over the police oversight system. The Alliance strives to change this paradigm by giving the community the power to review police misconduct and discipline officers.

One major function of the Alliance is to lead the campaign for establishing a Police Accountability Board (PAB). The Alliance has used public forums and demonstrations to increase public awareness. Police accountability is popular in Rochester and it is the mission of the Alliance to empower the community to move the PAB forward. Ultimately it is up to City Council to pass the PAB with 5 essential pillars.