In 2019, Rochesterians overwhelmingly voted to amend the City’s constitution (the City Charter) to create the Police Accountability Board. Section 18 of the Charter contains a set of laws and directives that define the PAB’s mission, goals, and capabilities. The Charter also gives some operational guidance that allows us to fulfill our mission.
To perform our work, the City Charter gives the PAB a broad range of abilities. Some of these abilities – specifically, the ability to conduct disciplinary hearings and discipline officers– are currently pending due to a lawsuit filed by the Locust Club—RPD’s police union. Despite this lawsuit, the Board retains a wide array of abilities to perform its essential work. These abilities include:
- The ability to examine all RPD policies, procedures, practices, and trainings
- The ability to educate and engage the community regarding policing and public safety practices
- The ability to independently investigate potential wrongdoing by individual officers, including by issuing subpoenas and reviewing investigatory materials obtained by the RPD
- The ability to create proposed policies, procedures, and legislation to change our public safety system
- The ability to hire staff to exercise all of these powers
In addition, the City Charter imposes a duty on the RPD and the City to provide the PAB with any “source of information” it requests.
The portions of the City Charter creating the PAB are below.