With racial tension still very prevalent on the heels of the George Floyd police brutality case and local rallies throughout the tri-county area, supporting the BlackLivesMatter# movement, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, along with Deputy Mayor David Rissberger opened a dialog with Oneonta's Police Chief Doug Brenner on reviewing the department's operations and how to ensure best police practices during this tumultuous time.

Those discussions resulted in a proposal to create a Community Advisory Board which will work with the Oneonta City Police Department. Find out more in the following statement released today from Mayor Herzig:

"I have much respect and confidence in Police Chief Brenner and in our Oneonta Police Department. Chief Brenner has long been an advocate of community policing and has demonstrated a willingness to listen and respond to all members of the Oneonta community. While our police policies have all been recently reviewed and approved thorough the New York State accreditation process, the time has come for them to be reviewed and approved by the people of the Oneonta community.

In the coming weeks, I will be asking our Council to approve the creation of a Community Advisory Board to the Oneonta Police Department. This Board will be tasked with reviewing our current police operating procedures to make certain that there are adequate safeguards against bias and unequal treatment. The Board will be asked to provide input on issues ranging from training to investigating citizen complaints. Community involvement in reviewing data, trends, and practices is imperative to insuring the success of our police department in its work to serve and safeguard the rights of all the people of the City of Oneonta in a manner that is equitable, professional, and consistent with the law and the values of this community.

This Board will be constituted in a manner which will insure that minority members of our community are well represented along with those local organizations which have been steadfast advocates for equal rights for all citizens of Oneonta. Transparency will be essential as we develop this Board and as they move forward with their review of our procedures."

Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner also issued a statement on this proposal for a Community Advisory Board:

"This process for a comprehensive review of the Oneonta Police Department’s policies and procedures will be with an open line for communication, ideas, honest answers, and transparency. The Department is open to a sincere and constructive review. Communication between concerned members of the community and the Department will help us to better serve and protect all members of our community. I am excited and enthusiastic to be a part of this process and to look forward to working together."