Following months of protests and calls for reform, City Hall releases online survey

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Following months of protests and calls for reform, City Hall releases online survey

(WHAM) - A survey released by the City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department aims to learn more about proposed police reforms and policing in Rochester.

The online survey is comprised of nine questions, asking about crisis intervention services, bringing in independent experts for developing new police policies, support for community policing, support for Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, and a proposed review of the RPD by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The survey concludes with an open-ended comment section.

People living outside the City of Rochester are allowed to give input in the survey.

“Our goal is to begin a collaborative and open process to ensure that the future of policing is driven by our citizens,” Mayor Lovely Warren said in an emailed statement. “This survey will help us gain an understanding of the community’s support for recent proposals to reform our police department and guide our efforts.”

Warren said more outreach, including community forums and additional surveys, will be conducted in the future.

Some are skeptical of the survey, calling the survey's motivations into question. Iman Abid, an advocate with the community-based group Free the People Roc, said the questions listed in the survey are biased toward the answers that City Hall and the Rochester Police Department want to receive.

Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien was also critical of the survey, saying in a tweet, "The questions on this survey are biased and seem to attempt to skew answers in order to support Police substations, WilmerHale and increasing the police budget."

“I didn’t know the motivation for the survey. It didn’t really seem to be phrased in a way to get community input. It was more trying to support some initiatives that I’ve seen," said Lupien.

WilmerHale is a national legal firm that Rochester City Council has submitted legislation to hire in order to review policies, procedures, and training processes for the RPD.

Lupien said the survey seemed to be worded less about getting community input and more about trying to support some initiatives brought up by the police department and city, such as the police substation at East Main and Laura Streets.

“I’d really love to see more input on the questions before we put the survey out and rethink it," Lupien said. "Some of the solutions I’ve seen from people is to answer unsure to all of the questions and then really type how they feel in the text box.”

Survey results will be made public when it concludes. No deadline has been given for when the survey will close.

The president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, Mike Mazzeo, also says he doesn't support the survey.

“If this is the way you have to communicate with the public, then there should be a concern," he said. "If this is going to get the information you need, then your ears are deaf to be what’s being said. I see no purpose at this time for a survey.”