At the last City Council meeting, Councilman Omari Shakur brought up a letter he received from the city’s chapter of the NAACP.
The letter addressed the recent resignation of former City of Newburgh Police Chief Doug Solomon. Solomon had been suspended in April. His suspension came after the controversial shooting of Tyrell Fincher.
His resignation was confirmed last week. Shakur also received a letter from the Christian Ministerial Fellowship. The letters addressed the disconnect felt between the police department and the community.
Newburgh is 80 percent black and Hispanic, and in many ways the community has often felt disconnected from a predominately white police department.
“We are urging this process for the selection of the next police chief to be transparent and move forward with a dynamic that informs and includes us in the process,” said the NAACP’s letter.
The letter from the NAACP urged for three actions: the civil service exam be administered as part of the selection process, that a remedy be put in place to address the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership positions, and that a pathway is established for the intentional involvement of community members in the hiring and retention process to establish diversity in the workforce.
Donat said that he reached out to the NAACP and Christian Ministerial Fellowship and looks forward to increasing communication efforts.
The city had a police chief test called for this past March but it had been canceled by the New York State Civil Service Commission due to concerns over COVID-19. It is uncertain at this time when the test will be rescheduled or if it will be rescheduled.
“I can assure this council and the community that it will be a transparent process,” said Donat.