Letter to the Community from Common Council in Support of the Cortland Police Department

(Photo from a February 4, 2020 Cortland Common Council meeting).

On behalf of the Cortland Common Council, Ward #2 (Katy Silliman) sent us a letter in support of the Cortland Police Department to share with the local community.

Here is the letter that was sent on behalf of the Cortland Common Council:

To the community of Cortland from your Common Council: a letter in support of the Cortland Police Department.

We would like to unequivocally state that we are proud of the Cortland Police Department’s work solving crimes and protecting the public. We appreciate the ways they champion the community through events such as Stone Soup, the bike program, Shop With A Cop (helping kids with holiday shopping), Coffee With A Cop, the School Resource Program and the Junior Police Academy. In addition, implicit bias training was added for new recruits in the police academy, and it is also part of the on-going training for every member of the department. They are ahead of most of us in that respect. As one of very few accredited police departments in the state, they meet or exceed current state standards for policing. However, the standards are changing.

George Floyd’s unconscionable death rocked the country. In response, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order to “reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs,” with community input, by April 1, 2021. Your police department, like every other NYS law enforcement agency, is under scrutiny. The people who make up the CPD do not want to be associated with those that commit such egregious acts against humanity. Here in Cortland, the police department’s goal is to protect and be available to all of the people, all of the time. They are examining their practices and training. It is difficult to be open to criticism. That they are ready and willing to do so is commendable.

This is a time of reckoning with our collective past. Bias has been baked into our society over hundreds of years. We are all responsible for this. If we want society to change, the way to bring about the desired result is through communication, education, and cooperation. Your Cortland Police Department needs to hear from their community. Please participate by sharing your suggestions or concerns with the Cortland Police Department directly, with your City Council Members, or with whomever you feel can deliver your message. Be the change you want to see in Cortland.

Cortland City Council Members,

Katy Silliman

Bill Carpenter

Bruce Tytler

John Bennett

Jacki Chapman

Troy Beckwith

Kat McCarthy

Tom Michales