NEW YORK – Today, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU) released its report on the death of Troy Hodge. After a lengthy and comprehensive investigation, SIPU concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that a crime had been committed by any of the responding officers from the Lockport Police Department (LPD) and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO).
The response to this incident, however, is cause for serious concern. As a result, SIPU’s report includes a series of recommendations, including that LPD discontinue its 911 call center and allow Niagara County to take over the dispatching responsibility in the area. SIPU determined that having two 911 systems at work in the City of Lockport hindered the emergency medical response in this incident. SIPU also made recommendations to improve the response to high-stress and high-risk situations, which includes training all law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and emergency medical personnel to ensure that symptoms, such as the ones that Mr. Hodge displayed, are recognized as a serious medical condition that merits a more robust emergency response. Additionally, it is recommended that LPD review its “Use of Force” policy in its entirety and emphasize methods that focus on de-escalation and tailor the instances under which deadly force is authorized to fit a narrower description.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Troy Hodge,” said Attorney General James. “We engaged in an extensive and complete review of the facts in this case and determined that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that a crime had been committed. However, the actions of some of the officers raised serious concerns and should not go unaddressed. By narrowly tailoring the “Use of Force” policy and training law enforcement to recognize signs of distress as a medical emergency, we can lessen the risk associated with high-stress situations such as the one we are addressing today. Troy Hodge’s death was a tragedy and we hope that the Lockport Police Department and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office will implement the recommendations we have made in our report.”