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Rochester Police Chief Herriott releases 90-day ‘fact-finding’ plan


Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott said she needs to understand what the public needs from the department. - PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI
  • Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott said she needs to understand what the public needs from the department.
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott has released what she’s calling a “90-Day Fact-Finding Plan” to familiarize herself with department operations and critical policing issues in Rochester

The plan outlines eight objectives that Herriott has for a department that is currently the subject of intense scrutiny and investigations following the death of Daniel Prude. In the document, Herriott writes that the plan is based on the time she would need to assess the department and determine where changes need to be made.

“As chief of police, I need to understand the public sentiment about the issues they face,” Herriott wrote. “Where possible, I need to learn about safety, budget, crime, and other issues, and hear it first hand when possible from those who live and work in the community.”

Herriott’s eight objectives include:
  • Assessing the department’s current leadership needs and filling critical leadership positions;
  • Identifying critical resource needs;
  • Identifying the most pressing matters facing Rochester Police Department;
  • Identifying and meeting with community stakeholders to establish relationships;
  • Reviewing department policies and procedures and updating them as needed;
  • Determining whether the department is aligned with President Obama’s 21st Century Policing guidelines;
  • Gathering information about the community and what it needs from the department;
  • Establishing relationships with other law enforcement agencies in the county.
Herriott was appointed chief after a period of turmoil in September where former chief La’Ron Singletary resigned, as did his command team. Her plan was highly anticipated, though the airy seven-page document she released Monday is scant on details and doesn’t speak to the changes she might make in the department.

For example, policy and procedures are set to be evaluated by the department’s Research and Evaluation Section over the course of 60-90 days. The plan does not make clear what specific policies will be reviewed, and only specifies a goal of aligning them with the most “up-to-date best practices”.

Likewise, the plan states that Herriott will meet with community stakeholders and leaders, but does not outline who she’ll reach out to.

Being a fact-finding plan, most of the document focuses on gathering information. It does, however, call for the creation of an advisory committee made up of “diverse professionals” to serve as “a strategic source of knowledge for the chief.”

After the 90-day period ends, Herriott will submit a plan for her next steps to the mayor.

“We must plan for the future and protect the health of the Rochester Police Department and the city of Rochester, as it is the last line of defense to the critical needs of the community,” Herriott wrote.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or [email protected].