The Westchester Coalition for Police Reform (WCPR) is a group of concerned community organizations, religious institutions and individuals who share a vision to help build safe communities, with improved community-police relations and greater police accountability and transparency.
The catalyst for creating the WCPR, founded in 2011 and formerly called the Network for Police Accountability, was the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. on November 19, 2011. Mr. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old man with a heart condition whose medical alert sounded by accident at 5:00 AM. Police were dispatched, and after an hour-long confrontation where the victim made clear he did not need or want their help, and that he was distressed and terrified, police broke into his apartment and Mr. Chamberlain was shot to death.
Our coalition is working for the following changes:
- Westchester Objectives:
- Establish independent oversight oversight structures with subpoena power in order to review the policies and practices of law enforcement agencies, investigate cases of police misconduct, and impose sanctions.
- Implement clear and current protocols within all police departments addressing the use of force continuum, as well as proper handling of emotionally troubled individuals, with an emphasis on deescalating confrontations without resorting to violence.
- Make the rules and regulations of all police agencies available to the public.
- Review and reform the training program of the Westchester Police Academy, with particular focus on proper means to deescalate situations through non-violent methods.
- Centralize in-service police training to encourage sharing of best practices and reduce financial costs.
- Expand the use of Crisis Intervention Teams throughout Westchester.
- Increase police department efforts to recruit from a diverse applicant pool, so that the departments more accurately reflect the communities they serve.
- Reassess police department promotion policies in order to advance more African-American and Latinx officers into positions of leadership.
New York State Objectives
- Establish a special prosecutor to investigate and discipline police misconduct.
- Create an independent entity to review the policies and practices of law enforcement agencies throughout the state and propose necessary reforms.
- Require that all police interrogations be recorded.
- Prohibit custodial arrests for violations-arrests where an officer has discretion to issue a summons or arrest an individual.
- Close the loophole that treats possession of small amounts of marijuana differently depending on whether or not it is in public view-a citation versus a misdemeanor.
WCPR is a project of fiscal sponsor Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence
We are located in the Thomas H. Slater Center at 2 Fisher Ct., White Plains, NY.
Go to the contact page for more information about us or to become involved.