Long Island officials finalizing police reform plans

In response to an executive order from the governor, officials in Nassau County and Suffolk County are finalizing plans for reforming their police departments. 

But civil rights lawyer Frederick Brewington believes police reform is coming to Long Island too little too late. 

"Nassau and Suffolk county police departments are well behind the times in terms of policing as a science, gathering data," Brewington told FOX 5 NY.

This week, Nassau legislative committees approved the county executive's police reform plan. The 410-page plan includes the implementation of body-worn cameras, collection of ethnic data on motorists involved in traffic stops, and boosting diversity in police department hiring.

"The plan as it is proposed in Nassau is seriously lacking the specificity, it's seriously lacking input from the community," Brewington said, "and essentially has been written by police for police with little attention being paid to the community that has voiced its opinion in a very strong way."

These changes are in response to an executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandating that local governments approve police reforms and submit them by April 1. If they fail to do that, they risk losing state funding and having their police departments fall under a monitor.

In response to a question about why implementing police body cameras has taken so long, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said it has "been a process" and is finally getting done.

"The governor's executive order gives us the opportunity to do more and we are embracing that opportunity and we are never done with this," Curran said. "We always want to do everything we can to build that trust, to keep the community safe and have transparency and accountability."

The Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature must now approve the police reform plan. That vote is expected to take place next week.

The Suffolk County Legislature held its second of three public police reform hearings virtually on Tuesday. The Legislature's plan also calls for widespread use of police body cameras, enhanced oversight, and review of data from traffic stops.

At these hearings, Suffolk residents have the chance to weigh in on the proposals. The final hearing will take place this Thursday. 

The Legislature will then vote on the reform plans by the end of the month.

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