The Medina Police Department held a virtual presentation earlier this week, highlighting policy alterations and general information for area residents. The department’s community briefing derives from a June mandate set by Governor Cuomo for local governments throughout New York State to develop grassroot collaboratives aimed at correcting poor or outdated policy.
According to Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward, at the request of community input, the following policies have been under review:
- Badge Cameras
- Use of Force
- Handling Deadly Force Incidents
- Use of Firearms
- Performance Evaluations
- Civilian Personnel Complaints
- Community Relations
- Less Lethal Options (Taser, OC, Less Lethal Shotgun)
In addition, policies were revealed now mandating an officer’s duty to intercede if they feel a fellow officer is using excessive force.
New Excessive Force Policies:
- Officers shall intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force.
- If an officer observes another officer use force that exceeds the degree outlined by law, that officer must report these observations to a supervisor.
Concerning adjustments or additions to mental health policies, little was given. Lieutenant Todd Draper, who interchanged with Kenward during the presentation, said, “We’ve created a mental health policy that is new, and that will be implemented out to our officers here in the near future.”
Chief Kenward’s report also covered training, extensively.
Medina Police Department Training Topics: Use of force, Firearms Training, Less Lethal Shotgun, Taser, Defensive Tactics, Workplace Violence, Bloodborne Pathogens, Evidence Collection, Active Shooter, CPR & Basic First Aid, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Spike Strips, Sexual Harassment, Awareness Training (LGBTQ), Hazmat, Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Reinforcement, Sex Offender Registration Management, K-9, Use of Force Investigations, Interview and interrogations, SRO, Opioid Prevention and Investigation, Instructor Training, Evidence Room Management, Drug Recognition Expert, Breath Test Operator, Tactical Team Training.
Draper added that some officers are being selected for training in principled policing, saying, “This is covering an area which is recently new in terms for law enforcement, that being procedural justice.”
Principled Policing Guidelines:
- Being fair in the criminal justice process.
- Being transparent in actions.
- Providing opportunities for a voice.
- Being impartial in decision making.
Touching upon community policing, Kenward says the department is involved with multiple local events for officers to connect with residents. The MPD participates in community events like ‘Bike Rodeos’ and ‘National Night Out’, also giving K-9 demonstrations for area youth. In addition, Kenward says the department works with civic groups, businesses, charities, and churches, along with maintaining active social media accounts.
Chief Kenward, speaking on further suggestions as this process continues, remarked, “We are most certainly always receptive and interested in feedback from the community throughout this process. I know the committee is small, but if it were too large, I don’t think we would be able to accomplish anything. I think it’s important to be small, and have the committee members reaching out to the community to get their feedback.”
Scott Robinson, Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Member, says these changes and reviews were influenced by a campaign to “maximize community input.” Meetings, both virtual and in-person (when COVID conditions allowed), played a part in recognizing which areas in police policy saw focus. Additionally, survey questions which circulated online helped gather suggestions from the community.
FEATURE PHOTO: (Police Chief Chad Kenward speaks at a virtual presentation of policy review and changes within Medina Police Department).