Village of Menands Compliance of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203



The Menands Comprehensive Police Practices Review Committee Report has been finalized and adopted by the Board of Trustees. We would like to thank the members of the committee for their time and input in developing the report and also thank the members of the Menands Community for their comments and suggestions. (Comments can be found on the Village website). Chief Lacosse has initiated additional training for his department and taken other measures in response to the report. As required by Executive Order 203, the report has been filed with the Division of Budget by the April 1st deadline and we look forward to continued community outreach and conversations.

Chief Frank Lacosse and Mayor Megan Grenier

On June 12, 2020, by Executive Order 203, Governor Andrew Cuomo concluded that urgent and immediate action is needed to accomplish a number of goals set forth in the Executive Order. The goals expressed in the Executive Order, that are to be completed on or before April 1, 2021, are as follows:

1. eliminate racial inequities in policing,
2. to modify and modernize policing strategies, policies, procedures, and practices,
3. develop practices to better address the particular needs of communities of color,
4. promote public safety in communities of color,
5. improve community engagement in communities of color, and
6. foster trust between the Police Department and communities of color.

To assist local municipalities and their Police Departments in meeting these six (6) goals, the Governor has directed the Division of the Budget, in consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, to provide guidance to all local governments:

1. in performing a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices,
2. in developing a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices,
3. in addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency,
4. in promoting community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and
5. in addressing any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.

In August, 2020, Governor Cuomo provided the Village of Menands with the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Resources & Guide for Public Officials and Citizens. Under the scheme contemplated by Executive Order 203, the Stakeholders nominated by the Village Mayor, in consultation with the Chief of Police and appointed by the Village Board, shall constitute a committee that will create a plan to adopt and implement the recommendations resulting in any modifications, modernizations, and innovations to the Village’s policing policies. The plan proposed and recommended by the committee must be tailored to the specific needs of the community and generally promote improved police strategies, policies and procedures and community relationships based on trust, fairness, accountability, and transparency. The ultimate objective of the plan is “to reduce any racial disparities in policing.”

To comply with the terms of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 on policing, the Village of Menands created the Menands Comprehensive Police Practices Review Committee (MCPPRC) by resolution on September 8, 2020. The MCPPRC is required to prepare the policing plan contemplated by the terms of the Executive Order. Once it has prepared a proposed plan for consideration by the Village Board, the MCPPRC must offer the proposed plan for public comment to all citizens in the locality. After consideration of such comments, if any, the MCPPRC may amend or modify the plan and must then present the final draft of the plan to the Village Board, which shall amend, ratify or adopt such plan by local law or resolution, no later than April 1, 2021.



Worth Gretter
I have read the Menands CPPR committee report. I thought it was well done in general, but needed more emphasis in one important area: training.
When you look at the numerous incidents nation-wide of abuse by police, training would have alleviated or outright avoided most of them. I see several important aspects of this:

  1. The other officers on the scene need to know, from their training, that it is their duty to restrain a fellow officer who is over-reacting. In the George Floyd case in Minneapolis, four other officers instead acted to prevent citizens from intervening. There should have been a little voice reminding each of them that their training required them to step in.
  2. Training needs to explicitly refute the military mentality of “dominating the battlespace”. This played a role in the Floyd case as well. When he refused to get in the police car, it became a contest of wills. The police perceived that it would be a “loss” for them if they failed to make him follow their orders. When a situation deteriorates to this point, the choice becomes “get in the car or die”.
  3. Officers need to be trained to always consider other options, both in techniques and in resources. In the Floyd case, and again in the case of the nine-year-old girl in Rochester, when someone won’t get in the car, there are certainly better techniques than strangulation or pepper spray. If nothing else, the police could call for a van and have several officers simply lift the handcuffed suspect into it.
  4. The use of other resources such as social workers are suggested in the Menands report. This too requires training, so that officers can make an accurate assessment of a suspect’s mental status, and thus know when to turn the case over to another agency, hopefully before further violence results.
  5. Another important part of assessment training is threat assessment. This must be taught in a way that is strictly factual in assessing threats. For instance, a possibly armed suspect who is fleeing does not represent a threat, and there is no possible justification for shooting him in the back. Officers rationalize that “we can’t have this armed suspect roaming the streets”, but realistically there are many armed people roaming the streets. If the fleeing suspect gets away, the officers need to accept that they must wait to apprehend him next time.
  6. Finally, all training falls into three categories (and maybe more). First and most obviously is the initial training when an officer begins their career. Second, is continuous training for periodic refreshers as well as updates on new laws, techniques, equipment, etc. And third, but often overlooked, is “lessons learned” training. This should follow any significant incident that occurred (or was averted) in the department, but should also take the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. The George Floyd killing should have been followed immediately by every police department in the country asking themselves “what can we learn from this?”

Don Carlo Wincenty Clemenzi
If it’s one job I’d never want, it’d be a police officer. Kudos to you and all cops. I teach students the importance of treating people with respect especially people in law enforcement and that you attract more bees with honey than vinegar. That’s fresh in my mind because I just said it yesterday in class. The only thing that comes to mind is how fast some people drive on Menand Rd. I love seeing the patrol cars out catching the speeders. Thanks everyone, yours in special education, Carl Clemenzi

Nancy Maney
Thank you, State of New York and the Village, of Menands for allowing public comment on this report. Being residents for the last 24 years, we are very pleased to have our own police department and we can’t thank the police enough for all they do. From my perspective, public safety and adequately funding the police department should be the number one priority, if it is not already. Regarding the report, I appreciate the history / demographic information which is important for background and context and good for the community to know. I, for one, was not aware of the rich agricultural history of the Village. The 2010 demographic information is very dated. I appreciate that the 2020 census data is not available yet but is there more updated information even if it is footnoted as preliminary and unofficial? Possibly, you are required to use the 2010 data. How are other localities handling this? I like the mission statement very much. Have funding opportunities been pursued in terms of grant funding, etc. to convert part-time officers to full-time (assuming it makes sense to do so)? Are there sufficient vehicles and other necessary equipment? Proper training for the very difficult job these officers do is critical. It should be funded by the State of NY and be regionally based for consistency but modified as needed for unique demographics. The Code of Ethics statement is excellent. I don’t know if that is unique to Menands or standard but “I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith” says it all. The police involvement in community activities is so important and is a Menands strength. I love the idea of the police greeting students in the morning at school. The weekly newsletter and public notification system are important communication tools as well. I can’t agree more that a strong business sector / environment is very important to Village stability and safety. On page 15, the reference to an increase in mental health calls, is it possible for the report to include the level of increase? This may help with getting more funding for police training. Because of Menands juxtaposition, coordination is obviously needed with police in the City of Albany, Town or Colonie, and City of Watervliet. I think the idea of a training officer who can facilitate not only training but coordination with other departments is a great idea and should be a priority for funding. The Defenders by Demographic table doesn’t seem to add up to the 88 total. Regarding Colonie Youth Court, my husband is a retired Family Court Judge in Albany County (retired December 2019) and would be happy to help facilitate Menands interaction with Colonie Youth Court (where he has an advisory role). Village residents pay Town of Colonie taxes as well and there should be a strong interaction, if not already, regarding training, recruitment, and back-up support. Mental health calls should continue to involve the police department and, in my opinion, it is too dangerous for mental health experts to handle without their support. Police access to a mental health professional seems to be critically important and the Town of Colonie should be able to help with that or join efforts to secure / fund such support. What percentage of traffic stops are substance abuse related? Should that be addressed in the report? The bottom of page 29 and top of page 30 under 10.) regarding procedural justice is not clearly written. Is the pay level for Menands officers competitive? If not, I think it needs to be and we need to work toward that. Thank you for the opportunity to comment and thank you to all who prepared this report and especially to the Menands Police for their service.

William Nevins
As an involved member of the community, I am pleased with the information provided. I hope this information gets out to all our community members. I would still like to hear from our community with some type of follow up after plan is accepted and perhaps an annual review and update. I thank all members involved in the effort made to get this document together. I also thank our Menands police Department and Chief for the leadership and dedication to our community.

Please to be asked to submit my comments. For 29 years of Menands residency we have both casual and in-depth dealings with police in Menands. 100% of the time we had positive, competent, successful dealing. There are regular patrols on our block. Police officer always arrived before the EMT/paramedics and pitched right in. When we or neighbors needed detective, work performed it was done so with due speed and good results. All staff and uniformed officers have always been polite and respectful.

Susanne Stein
My household has a multi-racial makeup and I have nothing but accolades for the Menands Police Department. When our family has needed assistance, Menands police has responded promptly, professionally and without prejudice. No-one in my family considered for even a moment that we were treated any differently because of the color of our skin. Menands police continues to make my family feel safe, both inside the home, and when out and about. They are a visible and integral part of our community. The Menands Police Department is a true asset for the Village of Menands!!