Our Mission & Vision

Our mission and vision are the driving forces that guide everything PAB does. Our mission, set by an overwhelming majority of Rochester’s voters, is to “ensure public accountability and transparency over the powers exercised by sworn officers of the Rochester Police Department.” Our vision, set by the community members who serve on our Board, is to reimagine public safety. To understand how we achieve our mission and our vision, you’ll need to understand our history, our values, and our work.

Our History

For over 60 years, Rochesterians have struggled to create a public safety system that is accountable and transparent. Through that struggle, Rochesterians created the Police Advisory Board of the 1960’s, the Complaint Investigation Committee of the 1970’s, and the Civilian Review Board of the 1990’s. In the late 2010’s, Rochesterians began to organize for an independent, community-led government agency devoted to investigating allegations of officer wrongdoing and creating system-level change in the public safety system. A coalition of over 50 community organizations helped draft a law that would change the city’s constitution to establish the Police Accountability Board. When the law was put to Rochesterians for approval through a referendum in 2019, an overwhelming majority of voters approved of the PAB’s creation. In 2020, the Board’s initial members were appointed and began the work of building the agency.

You can learn more about the history of police accountability in Rochester by reading The Case for an Independent Police Accountability System, a 2017 report by Theodore Forsyth and Barbara Lacker-Ware.

Our Values

Our values are ideas that define our culture and guide our choices. These values include:

  • Community Leadership
  • Independence
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Democracy
  • Anti-racism & Equity
  • Trustworthiness
  • Justice
  • Truth-telling

Our Work

Our Charter governs the day-to-day actions of our Board Members and staff. You can read the Charter at the “Our Legal Foundation” page. The Charter sets out four core tasks the Board must fulfill. Each these core tasks is fulfilled by a different Division of the Board. These Divisions are described below.

Investigations Division

Holds sworn officers of the Rochester Police Department accountable through independent investigations into potential wrongdoing.

Oversight & Policy Division

Oversees the policies, practices, and procedures that constitute Rochester’s policing system and creates proposals to keep Rochesterians safer.

Public Affairs Division

Ensures the community is educated about our public safety system and is engaged in all parts of PAB’s work.

Operations Division

Ensures the Board operates accessibly, functionally, and transparently.

These Divisions are organized under an Executive Office, which provides the leadership and legal support necessary to ensure the success of the Board’s day-to-day work. In turn, the Executive Office reports to the Board itself, which is comprised of nine Rochesterians who serve as unpaid volunteers.