MALONE –– A citizens’ committee created by Mayor Andrea Dumas will be seeking public input on the performance of the village Police Department as part of the state’s police reform efforts.

The committee, which includes community leaders, business owners and other citizens, will be holding several meetings at which residents can voice their opinion about the department. Committee members will also meet individually with residents who might be wary of voicing their concerns about police in a more public setting, Dumas said.

Meetings are planned for next week at many of the community’s larger housing complexes, including Elm Manor and apartment complexes on Catherine Street, Sawyer Avenue and Mill Street, Dumas said. A session will also be scheduled for the village offices on West Main Street.

Meeting times, dates and locations will be posted on the homepage of the village website, https://villageofmalone-ny.com, and the village Facebook page.

Committee members will also meet with people in their homes if transportation is an issue, Dumas said, or individually at the village offices if people want to make statements they would like to be kept confidential. However, most comments must include the commenter’s name, she noted.

Some people have already provided input about the police department, Dumas noted. “The positive were outweighing any of the potential negatives,” she said.

Dumas and committee members are hoping to attract a variety of people to participate in the sessions. They are particularly reaching out to people who have had interactions with the police; people who have been incarcerated; local neighborhood, homeless and housing advocates; LGBTQ individuals and advocates; the elderly; and children and adolescents.

The creation of the committee and the input sessions are a response to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203. Under the order, all municipalities in the state have been asked to re-examine their police departments, “to develop a plan to improve deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices” as well as to revisit “the particular needs of … communities … and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.”

Cuomo has tied state funding of local police agencies to the public meetings, but Dumas noted that the Malone Police Department is supported solely by village taxpayers.

To set up a meeting with commission members or to leave comments, contact Dumas, by mail (343 W. Main St., Malone, NY 12953, telephone (518-483-4570), or email (adumas@villageofmalone-ny.com).

The committee will be writing a draft report in January. The report will discuss the committee’s deliberations and tentative conclusions. The community is urged to comment on the draft.

An announcement will be made when the draft report is available for public comment.

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