Police Accountability Board brings in retired RPD sergeant to talk department changes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Police Accountability Board was joined Thursday night by a retired RPD officer for an educational event on ‘Black RPD Officer Perspectives’

The Police Accountability Board is gathering information about police culture and community perspectives, so they can come up with recommendations that will hopefully foster relationships between the community and police.

Marvin Stepherson, a Rochester native and former RPD sergeant with 25 years of experience in law enforcement, talked with the Police Accountability Board to find out what can be done to bring police departments and communities closer.

“When we talk about hiring officers, look at more than just the test, who are they as a human being,” said Marvin Stepherson, former RPD sergeant.

Stepherson produced the documentary ‘Too Blue to be Black, Too Black to be Blue’, which shows how Black officers navigate both RPD and Rochester’s community. He believes improving police departments starts with recruiting officers who know the communities they will patrol.

“Apart of your academy training should be volunteering at a rec center, at a homeless shelter, somewhere where you actually start to get indoctrinate and cultured about the community you are going to work in before you become the authority figure,” said Stepherson.

His next suggestion was continued cultural training for officers already on the force. Important information for the PAB who through their Bureau of Systemic Change are aiming to create community-driven, evidence-based proposals for change within RPD.

“Introducing these things of like, not diversity training but actually culturally competency where we’re talking about cultural experiences,” said Stepherson. “It comes down to perspective of who are you policing what is their culture and customs how does that influence or impact that way that you police.”

The Police accountability board is using the information they gained tonight to help build recommendations and suggested policy changes that will help the Rochester police department improve police community relations.

The PAB is announcing three community forums that will focus on what the board does and future goals.  The public can attend the forums by registering at the links below.

Tuesday, May 4 @ 6 PM – Register HERE

Tuesday, May 11 @ 6 PM – Register HERE

Sunday, May 16 @ 5 PM – Register HERE

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