On Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, the people of Rochester overwhelmingly voted to pass the Police Accountability Board (PAB) Referendum. We encourage city residents to apply to become members of this new, unprecedented board that will be responsible for holding police accountable for misconduct. The Police Accountability Board Alliance is responsible for nominating 4 members to serve on the Rochester Police Accountability Board. We are seeking people who represent the diversity and lived-experience of the Rochester community. All are welcome to fill out our simple application to be considered.
Read the legislation that was approved by voters here: City Council's PAB Legislation
The City of Rochester fails to hold police officers accountable for misconduct and brutality. Between 2001 and 2016, citizens filed 923 allegations of excessive force against the RPD. The Chief of Police, who has the sole power to discipline officers, only sustained 16 of these allegations. The Chief of Police cannot be expected to investigate, evaluate, and discipline police officers. This is a clear conflict of interest. Between 2002 and 2016, only 13 allegations led to discipline. The harshest discipline was 6 suspensions for sustained allegations of use of force. None were fired. Police misconduct will continue unless this broken system is replaced with an independent system that serves the interests of the people of Rochester, not just the RPD.
A coalition of community organizations came together in 2017 and proposed a Police Accountability Board (PAB) to replace the current broken system. The proposed PAB would be a civilian-led oversight board that is rooted in five essential pillars:
Currently The Locust Club, the RPD's police union, is challenging the disciplinary power of the PAB in court. Although the NYS Supreme Court ruled against us, Rochester City Council is appealing the decision to a higher court.
In addition to the five pillars, sufficient funding is required so that complaints of misconduct are resolved efficiently and effectively in 90 days. To handle the volume of complaints that are filed in Rochester, the PAB will require a funding equal to 1% of RPD’s budget, one million dollars, a reasonable cost of true accountability, and an investment which will result in far fewer costly lawsuits against the city involving excessive force.
The Police Accountability Board Alliance is a coalition of community organizations united to hold the police accountable in Rochester. The Alliance brings a diversity of perspectives and expertise to the shared struggle for police accountability. The City fails to hold police accountable largely because of the lack of community control over the police oversight system. The Alliance strives to change this paradigm by giving the community the power to review police misconduct and discipline officers.
The Alliance supports, promotes and defends the function of the new established PAB and elects 4 nominees to serve directly on the board. The Alliance has used public forums and demonstrations to increase public awareness. Police accountability is popular in Rochester and it is the mission of the Alliance to empower the community to move the PAB forward.
If you or an organization are interested in joining the PAB Alliance, please contact us and fill out this application: PAB Alliance application.
There are many ways to get involved with the PAB:
For Immediate Release:
Friday, July 31, 2020
The following is a list of meetings to be held by the Police Accountability Board (PAB) for the month of August 2020.
The PAB will not be conducting in-person meetings for the month of August 2020. All meetings will instead be streamed live online as listed below. If guidance around in-person meetings is changed, an updated release will be sent detailing any changes related to location and access. For a full list of Public Meetings and additional information about participation go to the Public Meeting Access page on the City’s Website: www.cityofrochester.gov/publicmeetings.
City residency is required for a minimum of 12 months prior to appointment and appointments are unpaid positions.
The Board is comprised of 9 members: 4 members shall be appointed by the Council (with representation from each Council District), 4 members shall be appointed from 12 recommendations by the Police Accountability Board Alliance, and 1 member shall be appointed by the Mayor; all members are subject to confirmation by the City Council.
The Board meets as needed, frequency will be determined by caseload, other meetings will be scheduled as needed and the Board will be responsible to create by-laws, hire an Executive Director, and work with Rochester Police Department (RPD) and Locust Club to develop a disciplinary matrix.
If selected to the Board, the term is for 3 years. Members of the Board and their immediate family members cannot be current or former members of the RPD. Board Members cannot be elected officials, or have been an elected official within the past 3 years, or an immediate family member of a current elected official. Board Members and their immediate family cannot be attorneys who have represented any party in a police misconduct lawsuit regarding the RPD, Chief of Police or Locust Club.
Board Members will review and assess RPD policies, procedures, patterns and practices annually and make recommendations for change to the Chief of Police, Mayor and City Council.
Training will be required on topics listed in Section 18-7 of Local Law 2019-2 / Int. No. 45A (this legislation can be found by visiting www.cityofrochester.gov)
If you are interested in applying to serve on the PAB, please send your résumé and a cover letter to:
Via US Mail:
Office of the City Council – Attention PAB
30 Church Street, Room 301A
Rochester, NY 14614
Please be sure your cover letter includes:
The Police Accountability Board Alliance is a coalition of community organizations aligned toward the shared goal of holding police accountable in Rochester. Below is a list of our coalition's members