Council looks at mandating police ID

By Lina Wu
Posted 7/1/20

The Newburgh City Council voted to hold a public hearing on July 13 to hear the public’s comments on requiring police identification at last Monday’s special council meeting.

The city …

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Council looks at mandating police ID

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The Newburgh City Council voted to hold a public hearing on July 13 to hear the public’s comments on requiring police identification at last Monday’s special council meeting.

The city is looking to amend chapter 80 of the city’s code of ordinances to add chapter 80-3 entitled “identification of police officers.”

“We have taken legislation and other language from the ACLU and applied it to this local law,” said City Manager Joe Donat. “In order to enact this local law, the first step in that process will be scheduling a public hearing. This public hearing would be taking place during the July council meeting.”

Michelle Kelson, Corporation Counsel, said that there will be some implementation issues regarding the city’s collective bargaining obligations with the uniformed police services. There will be a lag between the local law’s potential adoption and when it will have full-on implementation.

“I’m very happy to see we’re moving forward with this legislation,” said Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde. “It’s long overdue. For anybody who interacts with the public, it only makes sense that you introduce yourself to put the party at ease.”

Councilman Omari Shakur said that the ACLU reached out to him to say that they would be willing to do a presentation on the legislation.

Kelson said the presentation can be done in advance of the July meeting.

“This is one step of many steps I think we’ll be taking between now and next April to comply with the governor’s executive order,” said Councilman Bob Sklarz. “It’s a welcome step. It’s something I think the public should be entitled to, having identification. I look forward to seeing it move forward.”

Mayor Torrance Harvey raised the question of how will outside law enforcement agencies like the New York State Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department proceed moving forward. The two agencies are part of the city’s recent joint law enforcement efforts.

Donat said he would look into how outside law enforcement will proceed.

Law enforcement officers do not have a legal duty to disclose either their identities or their agencies of affiliation, even if asked directly. Certain municipalities require police officers to identify themselves if asked, but there is currently no federal statute requiring disclosure of such information.

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