North Tonawanda Police Reform Committee Holds First Meeting

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By: Thomas Krantz

North Tonawanda Police Chief

The North Tonawanda Police Reform committee had its first meeting on September 24, 2020.

During the meeting everyone had a chance to introduce themselves and bring up any concerns they had involving the police department.  The main focus of the conversations came down to mental health and substance abuse issues and the need for the police to be better trained in deescalating these type of calls and recognizing that these people need help that is better suited in a non-criminal justice setting.

Another focus of citizen perception of police officers was also an issue that needs to be addressed, but seemed to be a lesser concern than the two above.  In regards to perception, we need to figure out a way to be more community oriented.

A meeting of all Niagara County agencies was held on September 30, 2020 in an effort to have uniform practices where we can.  The same issues of mental health and substance abuse were the main focus of all county agencies.

In regards to mental health and substance abuse, Niagara County has partnered with Niagara County Mental Health and is in the process of trying to come up with ways to have more crisis service personnel available when needed.  Niagara County has also received a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (L.E.A.D.) grant which all Niagara County agencies will be trained in, in the upcoming months.  L.E.A.D. is a diversion program that diverts low level drug offenders to community based services, rather than being arrested, in an effort to get to the core of why they are abusing substances and reduce the criminal behavior of people who participate.

Currently North Tonawanda has six officers trained in crisis intervention and intends on getting all of our officers trained in the near future.

The North Tonawanda Police Department has a questionnaire on our web site under the police reform tab for questions or comments related to the NYS police reform and reinvention collaborative resource and guide for public officials and citizens.  A link to the resource guide is available on the website.  We welcome input from the community.  If you would rather, you can email any of our committee members with your thoughts.  Their emails are listed under their names.

I will also be available for in person discussions from 3-6 pm at the North Tonawanda Police Department located at 216 Payne Avenue on October 8th, 13th, 14th and 15th or by appointment if you can’t make it on any of those days by calling 692-4325 ext. 3147.

If you choose to come in on one of the days listed above, no appointment is necessary, just come to the police desk and let them know that you are here to see me about police reform.

 


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