FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2021
Jenna McDavid, Communications Manager
Albany, NY - Today it was announced that the Senate version of the New York State FY 2021-22 Budget (Senate Resolution No. 504) included $1 million in additional funding for the Rochester Police Accountability Board (PAB), thanks to the advocacy of Senator Samra Brouk (SD-55) and the statewide recognition of the outstanding work being done by the PAB to ensure greater public accountability and transparency of the Rochester Police Department.
“The work of the Rochester Police Accountability Board reflects the will of the people,” stated Senator Samra Brouk, Chair of the New York State Mental Health Committee. “Input from community members and oversight of law enforcement creates safer and better cities. The acts of violence by police here in recent months have been devastating and relentless: the death of Daniel Prude last spring, the pepper-spraying of a 9-year-old girl in January, a mother and her child pepper-sprayed by police last month, and the shooting death just last week of Tyshon Jones, a young man in a crisis of grief over the death of his grandmother. Dedicated funding for the Police Accountability Board is an important first step in breaking this vicious cycle. I’m proud that Senate Resolution No 504 of the New York State budget includes this essential funding, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and with community members here in Rochester to continue this momentum.”
“Thanks to Senator Brouk’s advocacy, our state is ready to make a landmark investment in community-led efforts to hold the police accountable,” said Police Accountability Board Chair Shani Wilson. “This commitment would be a desperately needed first step toward a fully funded Police Accountability Board. With the funding Senator Brouk has fought for, our agency could provide unprecedented transparency into the Rochester Police Department, begin to build a world-class process for investigating police misconduct, and launch important efforts to help our community rewrite our public safety blueprint.”
“Most agencies dedicated to police accountability have failed for a lack of funding,” said Police Accountability Board Executive Director Conor Dwyer Reynolds. “In fighting to fully fund the Police Accountability Board, Senator Brouk has given us hope that history will not repeat itself. With this kind of support, it is more certain than ever that the Police Accountability Board will help our community fundamentally transform Rochester’s public safety system.”
“The Police Accountability Board Alliance sincerely thanks Senator Samra Brouk and the state Senate for securing funding for the Rochester Police Accountability Board (PAB) so that they may independently and transparently investigate the abusive and deadly encounters by Rochester Police Department officers,” members of the Police Accountability Board Alliance shared in a statement. “These funds will help to ensure that officers are held accountable when they engage in harmful, dangerous acts. Our community spent generations fighting to create the Police Accountability Board—and now, the Police Accountability Board Alliance is fighting to make sure the Board has the independence and resources it needs to do its job. The horrific acts of brutality committed by police against our community members is the result of structural injustices: white supremacy, misogyny, and classism. They need systemic change at all levels of governance. We are grateful for the relief these funds will bring and for Senator Brouk's leadership in helping the PAB continue its vital work to keep our communities safe.”
New York State Senator Samra Brouk (pronounced Sah-mra Br-uuk) represents the incredibly diverse 55th Senate District, stretching from the southern shores of Lake Ontario, through Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, and south to Finger Lakes wine country. It includes the towns of Victor, East Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Richmond, Bristol, South Bristol, Canadice, and Naples in Ontario County and the towns of Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Penfield, East Rochester, and Irondequoit, plus the east side of the City of Rochester in Monroe County. Senator Brouk serves as the Chair of the Mental Health Committee and sits on Health, Education, Elections, Women’s Issues, Aging, and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse committees.
The Police Accountability Board is a part of the City of Rochester government dedicated to helping Rochesterians reimagine public safety by ensuring public accountability and transparency over the powers exercised by sworn officers of the Rochester Police Department. The Board comprises nine city residents and currently has one full-time staff member, its Executive Director.
The Police Accountability Board Alliance is a coalition of over 50 community organizations united to hold the police accountable in Rochester.