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Niagara County announces community engagement meetings on sheriff's office

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Fri, Sep 25th 2020 03:00 pm

Members named to police reform and reinvention collaborative

Niagara County Legislature Chairman Becky Wydysh and Acting Sheriff Michael Filicetti on Friday announced the next steps Niagara County is taking to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate that local governments undertake a police reform and reinvention collaborative initiative.

Wydysh named the members of the task force the County Legislature created to help put the police reinvention plan together.

“The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office has responsibility across the county, so we asked each city and town to appoint a member of their community to this task force and we also included appropriate county personnel as well as some at-large members of the community with a particular interest in the issues,” she said. “We appreciate the commitment of all the members who have agreed to serve.”

Wydysh said the committee has a few more spots to fill, but as of right now, the members are:

Municipal:

  • City of Lockport, Leonard Thomas
  • Niagara Falls, David Taylor
  • North Tonawanda, John Divirgilio
  • Cambria, David Littere
  • Hartland, Steve MacEvoy
  • Lewiston, Ron Winkley
  • Lockport (Town), Barry Kobrin
  • Newfane, William Clark
  • Niagara, Markus Williams
  • Pendleton, Michael Zimmerman
  • Porter, Gloria Baker
  • Royalton, Joshua Walker
  • Somerset, TBD          
  • Wheatfield, Tom and Rita Kontak
  • Wilson, Chris Jordan

At large (one vacancy remains): Tina Schultz, Carl Cain, Doug Nicholson and Mary Brennan-Taylor

Niagara County:

  • Sheriff Michael Filicetti
  • District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek
  • Public Defender Nick Robinson
  • Emergency Services Director Jonathan Schultz
  • Mental Health Director Laura Kelemen

Filicetti said community input and engagement beyond the task force is an important component of this initiative and, as such, two community meetings have been scheduled for any member of the public to come and express their opinion.

“We hope the public will come out and take part in these community meetings, because we want to be sure this process is open, transparent and inclusive, and that every citizen who wants to have a say will have the opportunity to do so,” he said.

The meetings are scheduled for:

√ 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at Town Hall in the Town of Lockport, 6560 Dysinger Road.

√ 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Wheatfield Community Center, 2790 Church Road.

Wydysh said that, once the task force completes a draft of the plan, it will be made available for additional public comment. She expects the legislature will adopt the final plan around the end of the year.

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