Onondaga County Reform and Reinvention Collaborative


1) Police Structure

The Police Structure Sub-Committee headed by Chief Kenton Buckner of the Syracuse Police Department has been given the critical task of developing policies around three very important issues.  Use of Force, Body Worn Cameras, and No Knock Warrants.  In doing so, the committee brought together subject experts and solicited input from advocacy groups and the overall public in order to develop policies that were practical, inclusive, and based on 21st Century best practices.

Members of this committee include:

  • First Deputy Chief Joseph Cecile with the Syracuse Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Derek P. McGork with the Syracuse Police Department
  • Detective Mark Rusin with the Syracuse Police Department
  • Amanda Harrington, Esq. with the City of Syracuse Corporation Counsel


2) Police/Community Relations

The Police/Community Relations Sub-Committee headed by Syracuse Common Council President Helen Hudson is charged to take a deep dive into the issue of Police Community Relations.  There were five distinct subjects within this committee and each of the sub-committees worked in specific areas of their expertise.  A broad look was taken at the Citizen Review Board, School Resource Officers, Right to Know Law, Community Engagement, Violence Interrupters, and Hiring and Diversity.  With the extensive work that was either taking place or being worked on we were able to offer some recommendations to this important work. 

Members of this committee include:

  • Rasheada Caldwell with the Allyn Foundation
  • Yusuf Abdul-Qadir with Racial Justice at the New York Civil Liberties Union
  • Timothy “Noble” Jennings-Bey Director of Trauma Response and Street Addiction Institute
  • Virgil Hutchinson CEO of Freeland Investigations Services
  • Ocsea Keaton, Director of Greater Syracuse HOPE
  • Ranette Releford, Director of CRB for the City of Syracuse
  • Chief Scott Heggelke with the Skaneateles Police Department



3) Crime Analysis

The Crime Analysis Sub-Committee Co-Chaired by Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway and Chief Deputy Joseph Ciciarelli is tasked to review and define the strategies and procedures associated with crime analysis, in addition to explaining the role of the Crime Analysis Center that gathers and monitors empirical data to provide a non-biased approach to public safety. 

Problem Oriented Policing along with Hot Spot Policing are similar concepts that identify and analyze specific crime problems and locations and target resources toward solving these problems. 

Focused Deterrence is a crime reduction strategy that aims to deter crime by increasing swiftness, severity and certainty of punishment.  This concept is usually directed at a specific crime problem such as gun violence and coupled between law enforcement and the Judiciary. 

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design provides crime prevention methods to an area or specific business that deters offenders from attempting criminal activity by identifying and offering crime prevention strategies utilizing environmental design and physical factors (i.e., placement of security cameras, lighting improvements, landscaping improvements, etc.). 

Members of this committee include:

  • Captain Dan Brogan with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division
  • Sgt. Collin Hillman with the Onondaga County Sherriff’s Office
  • Linda Brown-Robinson President of the Syracuse and Onondaga County NAACP
  • Dave Savlov, Esq. Deputy Director of the Onondaga County Bar Association Assigned Counsel Program


4) Training

The Training Sub-Committee headed by Chief Michael J. Crowell of the Manlius Police Department is tasked to explore De-Escalation Training and how to implement that into a police training in conjunction with Use of Force Training.  The committee will be providing an outline on how todays police officer should be training in De-Escalation techniques as well as a foundation of implementing De-Escalation and Use of Force at all levels, including the police academy level.  The Committee also believes if we can reimagine our way of training in Law Enforcement, avenues should be made available to education our citizens in Onondaga County.  Why police do certain things and the manner in which they do them.  Understanding why would help mend fences between police and certain walks of life that have built up a distrust in today’s police officer. 

The training aspect of our collaborative effort is the key component, but citizen education and trying to provide harmony between law enforcement and all citizens will provide us here in Onondaga County a better quality of life.  If we show as law enforcement the effort to change and help educate, the Governor’s directive will be met and met at the highest level here in our part of New York State. 

Our work involves researching various Racial/Implicit Bias Training models available to members of law enforcement.  We will develop and present pillars or broad concepts on these types of trainings that can be implemented by agencies large and small throughout Onondaga County.

Members of this committee include:

  • Chief Thomas Winn with the Camillus Police Department
  • Montanette Murphy with JCOC Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Paul Nojaim Ownership Representative of Salt City Market/Syracuse City Urban Partnership
  • Cindy Cieloch Town of Camillus Police Department, retired 911
  • Chief John Fall of the Town of Geddes Police Department
  • Chief Tony Callisto with S.U. Department of Public Safety
  • Dr. Cory Walack Syracuse University Barnes Center
  • Carlo Tearney Owner of Champion Martial Arts
  • Cheryl Giarrusso with Contact Community Services
  • Garrett Smith with NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Marla Byrnes with NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Sarah Reckess Director of the Center for Court Innovation
  • Maria Lewis with Mayor Walsh’s Office
  • Monica Williams Chief Diversity Officer with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Sgt. Steve Abbott with the Syracuse Police Department
  • Theresa Humennyj Director of Liberty Resources
  • Lisa Alford Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Adult and Long Term Care Services
  • Kirsten Hubel with Hutchings Psychiatric Center
  • Kristine Knutson with Contact Community Services
  • Jennifer Wolf-Pruner with St. Joseph’s Hospital and NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Jessica Caruso with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Onondaga County Office of Mental Health


5) Alternatives to Police Response

The Alternative to Police Response Sub-Committee is Co-Chaired by Onondaga County Legislator Linda R. Ervin and is tasked to address the problem of calls to police that involve non-criminal matters.  The American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimated that 20% – 50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involved an individual with mental illness.  Locally, Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) reports close to 30% of the presentations there involve the police. 

The goal is to recommend a framework or a plan for how Onondaga County can move forward towards a proper response to such non-criminal calls by means of strengthened collaborations between law enforcement and mobile crisis teams.

This Sub-Committee is also tasked with looking into Diversionary Programs and Courts along with Community Courts.  There are more than 14,000 criminal cases filed in Onondaga County each year, over 12,000 of which are misdemeanors.  Only a small portion of these cases are eligible for Diversionary Programs and Courts such as Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, Veterans Diversion Court and Court for Addiction Recovery Education (CARE Court) (Opioid Addiction).  Judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys need alternative sanctions besides jail and fines to dispose of these cases.

Employing a model of restorative justice, Community Courts seek to counteract the harm done to the community by these low level offenses through having defendants work to strengthen the communities in which the offenses were committed.  Community Courts can offer pre-arraignment diversion from the criminal justice system, as well as post-plea alternative sentences including community service, participating in counseling, education and social services.

The goal of the Community Courts Sub-Committee is to make recommendations on how the current Community Court model in Syracuse City Court could be grown and strengthened to include the ability to handle additional offenses, including misdemeanors, and geographically expanded to work with suburban and exurban Town and Village Courts.  Through providing opportunities for community service and meeting needs such as GED classes and mental health counseling we envision using the Community Court process as a opportunity to change the direction of an individual’s life, avoid costly and unnecessary incarceration, reduce recidivism, and build public confidence in our justice system.

Our goal is to offer a plan in each area that will guide policing in our County in proper directions in accordance with Governor’s Executive Order 203.

Members of this committee include:

  • Onondaga County Legislator District 8 Christopher J. Ryan
  • Onondaga County Legislator District 7 Mary T. Kuhn
  • Onondaga County Legislature District 16 Vernon M. Williams, Jr.
  • DeWitt Town Councilor Sam Young
  • Chief Chase Bilodeau with the Town of DeWitt Police Department
  • Commandant Herb Dunmore with the American Legion Post #1642
  • Bishop H. Bernard Alex with the Victory Temple Fellowship Church
  • Bishop Colette Mathews Carter President of the Syracuse Onondaga County NAACP