Delaware County Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Committee Minority Report
March 24, 2021
[Editor’s Note: The following report was recently delivered to the Governor’s Office by DCPRRCC members, Joyce St George, Simon Purdy, PhD, Walt Keller, and Jessica Farrell who have vehemently disagreed with the proceedings and much of the findings of the committee. So much did they disagree on so important an issue, they felt it was imperative to share their experience with the Governor’s Office as stated in their report below.]
This Minority Report serves as an addendum to the Final Plan of the Delaware County Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Committee, which was ratified by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors on March 10, 2021. This report was written and supported by four members of the Delaware County Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative Committee, all of whom are community members and not employed by Delaware County.
It is with deep concern that this report is written to convey our great frustration over the process and substance of the Final Plan for Delaware County’s Sheriff’s Office. The purpose of this Minority Report is to detail the shortcomings of the committee’s Final Plan as approved by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors and submitted to the State of New York. The Final Plan does not adequately account for recommendations from community members regarding race, substance use (including verbiage that would clearly spell out the substance use/mental health crises our county faces) and the changing demographics and culture in Delaware County. The process to put the Final Plan together also severely limited comments and concerns of Committee members and the public.
Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Background
Delaware County is the fourth largest county (by landmass) in NYS, and with approximately 46,000 residents is the fifth most rural. The county includes an aging population and a high number of citizens living at or below the poverty level. There are ten police departments that cover 1443 square miles, with one police department per 4600 people and 144 square miles. Delaware County’s Sheriff’ Office employs approximately 100 people (police, corrections and staff), and covers the entire county with approximately ten deputies. The Sheriff’s office also oversees the county jail.
Once a thriving agricultural area, Delaware County has experienced great losses of farms and related businesses over the past twenty years. The county is plagued with healthcare challenges, including the availability and accessibility to quality mental health care services. Our jail reflects this with 80% of the inmates having some form of mental illness. In addition, we have had one of the highest suicide rates in the state for several years. The common denominator for these concerns is the lack of services to assist community members in need. Currently, parts of the county have become retirement areas and tourism locations, with Air B&B’s, second homeowners from NYC and boutique hotels. In fact, the eastern part of Delaware County has seen a number of second homeowners move up full-time recently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The county has therefore been experiencing great changes in demographics, economics and culture in recent years.
Joyce St. George: email@example.com
Simon Purdy: firstname.lastname@example.org