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Ithaca Mayor Implements Changes for IPD
Written By: Samantha Potter
ITHACA (WENY) - When an off-duty police officer unholstered his gun on August 9th while in the process of stopping several teens, he set in motion a series of events. These events resulted in the the mayor of Ithaca making some big changes in the way officers go about their job
Even before the incident with Sergeant Norman and the teenagers there has been a long history of disconnect between Ithaca Police Officers and residents in the city of Ithaca. I don't really like them, I feel that if a problem was to happen I would try and handle it on my own before I actually went to them because I feel like they favor a lot of people, says West Village.
Ithaca's Mayor Svante Myrick acknowledges the lack of trust. He's heard the concerns before and is now making changes to police protocol, procedures and policy. We will create a plan for community policing that not only will get us better results in terms of fighting crime but will also build greater trust between the community and police, says Myrick.
The mayor's plan includes hiring new officers, opening a district office on the West End, a city residency requirement, stating all officers must live in the city of Ithaca. The plan also includes creating a Community Action Team, they will hire a downtown outreach social worker and plan to improve community outreach. The biggest of the changes is officers will be required to wear body cameras and utilize dashboard cameras in every patrol car. There will be rules for when the cameras have to be turned on but the officer is the only person who controls it.
The Mayor says he hope to have this plan in place starting the first of the new year. We have three and half months by the end of the year. Its an aggressive timeline but honestly its that important and issue. And I think we cant afford to wait for another incident to happen and we catch ourselves only half way through implementation through things that could have prevented it, says Myrick.
The new officers and maintenance for the cameras will be paid for by the city. The opening of the district office is be donated by a private developer who is building condos on the west end, and the initial purchase of the cameras is coming from a private donor who wishes to be anonymous.