No vote Tuesday on hiring outside firm to review RPD, proposal moved to committee

OCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City Council moved Tuesday night to send its proposal to hire an outside firm to look into the Rochester Police Department to the Public Safety, Youth and Recreation Committee.

The decision by the council meant there was no vote on the proposal Tuesday evening.

The proposal would have hired law firm WilmerHale “to review and provide written findings and recommendations with regard to Police Department policies, procedures, and training relating to use of force, de-escalating critical incidents, body worn cameras, and responding to mental health-related calls for assistance.”

The deal would last six months and cost $250,000, according to the proposal.

On Monday, activists argued the city’s Police Accountability Board, established via a referendum last year, should be the ones to look in to the police department.

MORE: Activists: Why pay an outside law firm to review RPD when we have a Police Accountability Board?

“Since it was a matter of necessity, it did not come out of a committee,” said Willie Lightfoot, the City Council Vice President, explaining to fellow Councilmember Mitch Gruber the decision to move the proposal to committee. “So we will be assigning it to a committee tonight for further discussions in the future. It will not be voted on tonight, with your second, and our vote.”

Before Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council listened to comments from constituents, which largely condemned the proposal.

“Thank you for your effort to the RPD, but please don’t spend a quarter of a million dollars on a report by lawyers,” said one person, who wrote in to the council.

“That money needs to be reallocated towards crisis response and other community support programs,” said another attendee via Zoom.

The council’s Public Safety, Youth and Recreation Committee consists of Councilmembers Willie Lightfoot, LaShay Harris, Mitch Gruber, and Jose Peo.

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