At our Board of Trustees meeting on Monday July 26th, we received a briefing from Chief of Police John Nikitopoulos on the Use of Force Incidents Report from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), covering the period of July 11, 2019 – October 31, 2020
Effective July 11, 2019, state law requires that each police department report incidents in which a police officer used force against an individual while on duty. This new law also directed DCJS to publish an annual comprehensive report outlining the circumstances of each of those incidents. The full report can be viewed at https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crimnet/ojsa/use-of-force-incidents-final-report.pdf
We were pleased to learn from the Chief that in the time period covered by the report there were no use of force incidents taken by our police officers. That does not mean that there was no criminal activity in Croton – we know from news coverage and regular communication from our police that law breaking, though at a very low-level compared to other communities, unfortunately does occur in our Village.
But what the Use of Force Incidents Report tells us is that our officers here in Croton have the training, preparation and judgment to meet their public safety responsibilities without resorting to force. This record has required restraint, a commitment to deescalating confrontations, and a focus on ensuring that the criminal justice process moves forward in an orderly manner.
Our Police Reform Task Force and our Police Advisory Committee underscore that the Village will always seek ways to improve policing. But the Use of Force Incidents Report is an opportunity to acknowledge work done well by Chief Nikitopoulos and the officers he leads and to thank them for their professionalism.
Len Simon, Trustee
Village of Croton-on-Hudson