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Public hearing set for PAB in Geneva: People’s Peaceful Protest throws support behind draft law

It didn’t come without a fair share of controversy, and several hours of public meetings, but the City of Geneva has drafted a proposed local law that would create a police accountability board.

The draft law was released by the city on Monday. It replaces the document that was submitted by the People’s Peaceful Protest, which had acted as a placeholder in the process.

A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23rd at 5:30 p.m.

The law was drafted and released by City Attorney Emil Bove. It’s described as an advisory body, with the power to discipline remaining with the police chief or a delegate.

Under the proposal, the PAB would also be able to make disciplinary recommendations and conduct its own investigations along the way.

“This law will not be what everyone wants it to be, but I do feel it is a law that all Genevans can support,” Ward 3 Councilor Jan Regan told the Finger Lakes Times. They say she was the only councilor to respond for their request for comment. “Unlike the embattled Rochester PAB law, which the Rochester police union has sued to overturn, the proposed Geneva law does not empower its PAB to mete out discipline to police officers.”

For their part – the People’s Peaceful Protest say they support the local law.

“The PPP supports Local Law 1-2020 to establish a PAB in Geneva that effectively provides accountability and enhances transparency of the GPD while being legally sound. The local law incorporates both the five pillars necessary for a successful and effective PAB and input from the community, City Council, and the GPD,” they wrote in a press release.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

For the last several months the PPP has worked on researching, educating, and advocating for a police accountability board in Geneva.

Expanding on the point of concern Regan called out – the PPP says that the process allows for transparency.

“The Chief retains the power to choose and implement discipline for GPD officers. However, the PAB will recommend discipline and if the Chief chooses not to implement the recommendations of the PAB, an explanation of that decision is required. Since the Chief’s written explanations of discipline will be public, there is effective accountability and transparency,” the PPP wrote in a press release.