Rochester’s Police Accountability Board has finalized the agency’s Disciplinary Matrix. Members of the board will begin receiving investigations for review as early as May 18.
The Disciplinary Matrix outlines potential penalty levels and sanctions for Rochester police officers who commit various levels of misconduct. Sherry Walker-Cowart, Interim Executive Director of the PAB, says cementing this process has been the primary goal of the agency since opening for investigations in 2022.
“This team and the board have worked tirelessly to get this in place,” said Walker-Cowart. “It took time but we wanted to get it right not only for the agency but also for the community. We can finally say we have crossed the finish line.”
For each substantiated misconduct case, the board can now recommend discipline or mediation. The Rochester Police Department then has 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) to publicly announce if it will implement the Board’s recommended outcome. Board Chair Larry Knox says this is what the public has been waiting for.
“The fact that the Rochester Police Department must explain to the people of this City exactly why or why not they will take the PAB’s recommendation gives something back to the community. In a system that typically lacks transparency, this is a powerful thing.” said Knox.
The process to finalize the matrix included sending the document to the Rochester Police Department and Locust Club. Both provided some input or recommended changes. Suggestions for changes to the matrix will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.
In addition to passing the agency’s Disciplinary Matrix the PAB also welcomed three new board members during the May 4, meeting. Mary E. Wambach, Rev. Keith Patterson, and Mr. William Clark were appointed to the Police Accountability Board by City Council in April. More information on the newest members is to come.