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  • Rich Klein

EDITORIAL - Sheriff's Office Police Reform Plan: Too Little, Too Late?

There are exactly two weeks left before law enforcement agencies in New York State are supposed to submit their police reform plans to Albany.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said it will show its first draft to the public on Friday.

Then, it will only take comments from the public about the plan by email.

Don’t expect Sheriff Mike Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty to listen to citizens on this important issue. Why should they start now?

They have already displayed their arrogance by not starting this process in August, when they received guidance from the Governor and state criminal justice officials to engage the public.

And where was District Attorney Meagan Galligan’s leadership on this? Where was Legislature Chair Rob Doherty? Where was Nicholas Salomone, chair of the Legislature’s Public Safety & Law Enforcement Committee?

The silence from our public officials is deafening. And did any of the town supervisors - who Schiff and Chaboty met with about the plans recently - publicly express concern that this process should have started eight or nine months ago?

Heaven forbid anyone in this County challenge the word or political authority of Team Schiff.

Later today, all nine legislators are expected at the Government Center and their agenda is full.

But it’s long overdue for one of them to step up to the plate and demand that Schiff and Chaboty tell them exactly where they are in the process, why there are only 362 resident responses and how the heck they expect to gain trust of the community - when most were completely shut out from the process.

The survey they put online needs to be re-opened ASAP. And there needs to be two or three hearings regarding the plan in places like Monticello (not inside the Sheriff’s Office), Liberty and Fallsburg.

Schiff may be running unopposed for re-election but he still needs to be held accountable for police reform by the taxpayers and the legislators who represent them.

But most importantly, this is about the future of Sullivan County, the kids and young adults growing up here now - and for future generations.


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