Schenectady enacts police reform measures, banning choke holds and knee-to-neck holds

The City of Schenectady announced this evening that it will implement a series of police reforms.

Mayor Gary McCarthy signed an executive order that “reaffirm many of the current Schenectady Police Department’s existing policies.” This order includes banning the use of knee-to-neck holds and banning the use of choke holds consistent with state legislation, reaffirming the duty of an officer to intercede and to report all use of force and unauthorized use of force, and reaffirming the mandated training requirements for de-escalation, implicit bias, and systemic racism.

“This order is also to reaffirm to our residents our commitment to justice and equity in the City of Schenectady and that the actions taken by officers in Minneapolis are not acceptable in our community,” said McCarthy in a statement. “In Schenectady, after years of litigation we affirmed the right to use the commissioner form of police discipline which has been extraordinarily successful and has created a model for other communities to follow.”

“Thanks to the progressive leadership of our Police Chief Eric Clifford, Use of Force data is collected and analyzed daily to review for officer frequency and other trends such as sex, race, mental health, and type of force. Additionally, our independent Civilian Police Review Board reviews all citizen-initiated complaints free from bias and informed by actual police policies,” McCarthy continued.

Schenectady’s actions follow the executive order signed by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan earlier this week, in addition to state legislation being voted upon at the State Capitol.

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