How new citizens review panel will help Plattsburgh

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) The city of Plattsburgh has announced the members for its Public Safety Citizens Review Panel. Our Kelly O'Brien explains the tasks the members will have and speaks to someone on the board.

"My vision is to learn myself," said Emily Stacey, a member of the Public Safety Citizens Review Panel.

Stacey is in her last year as a criminal justice major at SUNY Plattsburgh. Born and raised in the Lake City, she's raising her three kids here, too.

She says she has a blended family, making her position on the panel even more important to her.

"Despite my efforts, I don't think they've had too much of a positive experience and I'd like to see that change, too," she said.

Stacey is one of 12 citizens picked by Mayor Colin Read to be a part of the review panel. Everyone has different backgrounds they bring to the group.

The mayor says the goal is to work as a liaison between the public safety departments-- like police, fire, EMS-- and the community.

"Developing a bridge there, not a break," Stacey said.

Read says their job will be to advise the city's Common Council on accountability issues and oversight on investigations into public safety departments.

The mayor says the group will start immediately. He has a list of tasks he wants the group to work on right away. A few are community policing, implicit bias awareness and de-escalation training, and looking deeper into the use of force by Plattsburgh police officers.

"This group will make recommendations to the Common Council in three months' time, and in the remaining three months of the year, we'll take those recommendations and change code and law, priority and budgets and etc," said Read, D-Plattsburgh. "Everybody has to also feel protected and to feel safe. And that's why we need a citizens' discussion to do this."

The mayor says this group will be 100% run by the members. They will decide when, where and how often they meet.