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U.S.

Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

JMS:LLC:MJG:CWH:BDB
DJ 207-52-4

Special Litigation Section - PHB


950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington DC 20530

March 23, 2015


Via Electronic Mail
Ms. Gail M. Lolis
Deputy County Attorney
H. Lee Dennison Building
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099
Re:

United States Response to Suffolk County Police


Departments Second Compliance Report Dated January 13, 2015

Dear Ms. Lolis:


Pursuant to Paragraph XI(c)(v) of the January 13, 2014 Agreement between the United
States and the Suffolk County Police Department (Agreement), we write to provide the United
States preliminary response to Suffolk Countys January 13, 2015 Compliance Report and
attachments (Second Compliance Report). 1 Please note that we are still in the process of
conducting our on-site visits with our expert consultants and reviewing the policies and training
that the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) has been revising pursuant to our
comments and technical assistance. Once those visits and our review of the revised policies and
training are completed, we will provide a comprehensive assessment of SCPDs compliance with
the Agreement. 2 In the interim, we will continue our collaborative engagement with SCPD to
provide technical assistance and feedback to help move SCPD toward substantial compliance
with the terms of the Agreement.
As you know, the Agreement calls for Suffolk County to provide the United States a selfassessment compliance report six months from the Agreements Effective Date and every six
months thereafter until the Agreement terminates. See Agreement IX(c)(ii). The Agreement
requires that the compliance report indicate whether the County believes it has reached one of
three levels of compliance: Substantial Compliance, Partial Compliance, or Non-Compliance.
Id. Compliance with a material requirement of the Agreement requires the County to have
incorporated the requirement into policy; trained all relevant personnel as necessary to fulfill

Suffolk County produced its first compliance report on July 21, 2014 (hereinafter, First Compliance Report).
Pursuant to the Agreement, the United States may conduct compliance visits or audits as needed to determine
whether the County and SCPD have implemented and continue to comply with the material requirements of this
Agreement. Agreement IX(d).

their responsibilities pursuant to the requirement; and carried out the requirement in actual
practice. Id. IX(a).
In addition to the foregoing, the Agreement requires that the compliance report include:
1. the steps SCPD and Suffolk County have taken during the reporting period to implement
the terms of the Agreement;
2. plans to correct any problems or lack of compliance;
3. a response to any concerns raised by the United States regarding Suffolk Countys
previous compliance report;
4. a projection of the work to be completed during the upcoming reporting period;
5. any anticipated challenges or concerns related to implementation of the Agreement; and
6. a summary of documents relied on for statistical purposes or general data as the basis for
self-assessment.
Id. IX(c)(iii).
The Agreement requires the United States to notify SCPD of any questions or concerns it
has regarding the compliance report and Suffolk Countys compliance with the Agreement
within 60 days of receipt of the Report. Id. IX(c)(v). It also provides for the United States to
notify SCPD of any concerns it has related to policies and training curricula within 60 days of
their receipt. See id. VII(c)(v).
Thank you for providing the United States with the Second Compliance Report and the
documents attached thereto. Overall, we find that SCPD continues to take notable and
significant steps toward complying with the requirements of the Agreement. As detailed below,
work remains to be done under some provisions of the Agreement, and SCPD will need to
develop measures of implementation for some of the policies and procedures that have been
developed. We look forward to collaborating to accomplish these objectives.
The following are the United States questions, concerns, and comments about SCPDs
Second Compliance Report, organized by section and subsection of the Agreement. As noted,
we will provide our assessment of SCPDs current compliance status after we complete our onsite visits to evaluate implementation of the policies, procedures and training curricula that
SCPD has submitted.
1.

BIAS-FREE POLICING
A.

Introduction

SCPD has committed to deliver police services that are equitable, respectful, and free of
unlawful bias, in a manner that promotes broad community engagement and confidence in the
Department. Agreement III(a). SCPD has further agreed to ensure that members of the
public receive equal protection of the law, without bias based on race, color, ethnicity, national
origin, religion, or sexual orientation, and in accordance with the rights, privileges, and
immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Id.
2

SCPD has taken a number of steps toward compliance with this provision. SCPD has
pursued initiatives designed to increase community engagement and trust, such as dedicating
Community Liaison Officers and Community Oriented Policing Enforcement officers to solving
problems in the community, while largely relieving these same officers of enforcement duties.
SCPD has also made significant commitments to policy revisions, implementing mechanisms to
improve language access, and developing curricula for force-wide trainings on bias-free policing
and hate crimes, among other measures.
Considerable work appears to remain in front of SCPD, including finalizing training
curricula and delivering the trainings; implementing a new traffic stop collection and reporting
system; and ensuring input from Latino community into language access measures and other
issues of concern. We look forward to working with SCPD on these and other issues. We hope
and expect that the changes already underway and those in development will continue to foster a
culture of bias free policing that will enhance the safety and security of all individuals in Suffolk
County, without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion or sexual orientation.
B.

Policies and Procedures

i. Comprehensive Policy Prohibiting Discrimination


Paragraph III(b)(i) of the Agreement requires SCPD to maintain implementation of a
comprehensive policy prohibiting discrimination, including the denial of services, on the basis of
race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation in SCPD police practices.
Agreement III(b)(i). The Agreement defines Discriminatory Policing as selective
enforcement or non-enforcement of the law, including the selecting or rejecting of particular
policing tactics or strategies, based on membership in a demographic category specified in this
Agreement. Discriminatory policing does not include using race, ethnicity, or any other status in
any reliable and recent suspect-specific description. Id. II(i).
SCPD has submitted Rules and Procedures Chapter 1, Section 1 (Rules and Procedures
hereinafter designated by the abbreviation R&P [Chapter].[Section], such as R&P 1.1 here).
That policy states that SCPDs mission is to provide and maintain a safe environment for every
person in Suffolk County regardless of that persons residency or immigration status. It
acknowledges that police operations depend on individuals believing that they can freely come
forward to report a crime and cooperate with law enforcement, and on public approval of [law
enforcements] existence, actions, [and] behavior. The policy also affirms on behalf of all
SCPD members the obligation to treat all persons with dignity and respect and protect all
persons and property. SCPDs Vision, found within the same policy, is to Provide bias-free
professional police services to all. SCPD also includes a second statement of its Mission,
which is, To serve and protect all citizens, 3 while enforcing the law with impartiality, respect,

We note that the use of the word citizen suggests that SCPD would not serve and protect non-citizens, and
recommend substituting individuals.

and compassion. These positive elements of SCPDs mission reinforce the principle of
equitable delivery of police services. 4
The policy needs to include an unequivocal prohibition on discrimination in police
practices, however. Although this may be an oversight, as the policy does define biased policing
(a/k/a discriminatory policing), the prohibition on biased policing appears in strikethrough font.
As to SCPDs definition of biased policing, the first clause is identical in substance to
that required by the Agreement: selective enforcement or non-enforcement of the law, including
the selecting or rejecting of particular policing tactics or strategies, based upon an individuals
race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The
second clause of SCPDs definition departs from the language of the Agreement, however. The
Agreements definition of discriminatory policing makes an exception (i.e., carves out
circumstances where race, national origin, or other characteristics may be used) for the use of
race, ethnicity, or any other status in any reliable and recent suspect-specific description.
Agreement II(i) (emphasis added). SCPD proposes a different exception: Biased policing
does not mean using any trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe that
links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual
orientation, or gender identity to an identified criminal incident or scheme. This exception
could reasonably be read to extend more broadly than that in the Agreement. Depending on the
exact phrasing, SCPDs exception could be acceptable if it applied only to the use of race,
ethnicity, or other status in a reliable and recent suspect-specific description. SCPD should
clarify this in the policy.
The aforementioned elements of SCPDs mission statement and an unequivocal
prohibition on discriminatory policing are critical elements of an effective and appropriate
policy. At the same time, we believe a comprehensive policy prohibiting discrimination in
SCPD police practices, Agreement III(b)(i) (emphasis added), requires more. Specifically, we
recommend that SCPD add guidance on how officers should conduct themselves in order to
eliminate discriminatory practices. Without such specific guidance, SCPD allows officers to
interpret a general policy statement, and the policy may be applied inconsistently or improperly.
For example, a Procedures section could direct officers how to conduct themselves in
their contacts with individuals, including in traffic or pedestrian stops, in a bias-free manner.
This section would help an officer break down the guidance by separately addressing the time
periods before, during, and after the officer makes contact with the individual:

Before initiating contact, officers should assess situations only by objectively evaluating
indicators of potential criminal activity and/or suspect-specific characteristics;
When officers initiate individual contact, they should willingly share the reason for the
stop or detention, unless doing so would compromise officer or public safety; only make
decisions regarding subsequent courses of action based on the objective assessment of the
circumstances; and ensure that detentions take no longer than is reasonable for the known
or suspected offense, among other steps; and

We also note that SCPD has removed statements from this policy that attribute changes to the Department of
Justice or the United States. For the reasons stated in our letter dated September 22, 2014, this is a positive change.

After the individual contact, the officers should follow standard reporting practices and, if
necessary, forward any complaints as appropriate.

This is but one potential model; other templates are available, and may be fashioned to
address any specific context in which SCPD operates. Although SCPD members may receive
similar guidance through a combination of various policy statements, aggregating these
directives into one policy to demonstrate what constitutes bias-free policing may nevertheless be
helpful. We are available to discuss this matter further.
ii. Prohibition on Using Membership in Protected Class in Stops or Detentions
SCPD has agreed to implement a policy on bias-free policing that will prohibit officers
from using protected classes in stops and detentions, except in limited circumstances.
Specifically,
SCPDs policy on bias-free policing will prohibit officers from using race, color,
ethnicity, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation in conducting stops or
detentions, or activities following stops or detentions, except when engaging in
appropriate suspect-specific activity to identify a particular person or persons.
Agreement III(b)(ii).
In this regard, SCPD has submitted Rules and Procedures Chapter 2, Section 2, Rules of
Conduct Members of the Department. That policy prohibits illegal profiling in two
contexts: deciding which individuals are subjected to routine or spontaneous investigatory
activities and deciding upon the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the
initial activity. The policy defines routine or spontaneous investigatory activities as follows:
Sworn members of the Department sometimes engage in spontaneous action in
response to the activities of individuals whom they encounter in the course of
their duties, and about whom they have no information other than their
observations. Examples of these routine or spontaneous investigatory activities
include traffic stops, pedestrian stops or street encounters, questioning, frisk and
other types of body searches, consensual and nonconsensual searches of persons
and property, detentions, and arrests.
The policy defines illegal profiling as the reliance, to any degree, on race, ethnicity,
national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, in selecting which
individuals are subjected to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities; or in deciding upon
the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the initial activity. The policy
provides for an exception to illegal profiling:
The term Illegal Profiling does not include the reliance on race, ethnicity, national
origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, when there is
trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person
of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual
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orientation, or gender identity to an identified criminal incident, scheme, or


organization.
The policy, as currently constructed, should be revised in a few ways. First, the policy
unnecessarily duplicates the phrase routine or spontaneous investigatory activities. The
policys Rules and Procedures section prohibits illegal profiling during routine or spontaneous
investigatory activities, see Second Compliance Report Att. 1, at 6 -- but, by the terms
definition, illegal profiling can only take place during routine or spontaneous investigatory
activities, see id. at 5. 5
We appreciate that SCPD prohibits profiling in law enforcement. In addition, we
recognize that the term illegal profiling appears in other SCPD policies, such as those dedicated
to civilian complaints. Accordingly, we encourage SCPD to continue to prohibit illegal
profiling. But readers of the policy may harbor views correct or not about the meaning of
the term profiling, and these views may conflict with SCPDs definition of the term. For
example, if an officer believes profiling refers only to department-wide operations, he or she
might rationalize that an individual officer can target Latino motorists without profiling within
the meaning of the policy. Accordingly, SCPD should also adopt an unencumbered prohibition
on the use of race in stops or detentions, except when engaging in appropriate suspect-specific
activity.
Finally, the Agreement only allows the use of a protected characteristic in conducting
stops or detentions (or activities following stops or detentions) when the officer is engaging in
appropriate suspect-specific activity to identify a particular person or persons. See Agreement
III(b)(ii). The exception SCPD carves out to its definition of profiling may be interpreted more
broadly than the Agreement allows, as discussed on page 3, supra.
In the end, we believe these considerations will prompt SCPD to consider a prohibition
that closely mirrors the language in the Agreement. For example, the following language would
comply:
SCPD members are prohibited from using race, color, ethnicity, national origin,
religion, or sexual orientation in conducting stops or detentions, or activities
following stops or detentions, except when engaging in appropriate suspectspecific activity to identify a particular person or persons.
As mentioned above, this could add to, rather than replace, SCPDs use of the term
illegal profiling.

If the reader were to substitute the definition for the term illegal profiling in the Rules and Regulations section of
the policy, it would read as follows:
Members shall not engage in the reliance, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, age,
gender, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity, in selecting which individuals are subjected
to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities; or in deciding upon the scope and substance of
law enforcement activity following the initial activity in selecting which individuals are subjected
to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities; or in deciding upon the scope and substance of
law enforcement activity following the initial activity.

iii. Referral of Complaints of Discriminatory Policing


Pursuant to Section III(b)(iii) of the Agreement, SCPD policy will require that, within
five days of receipt, SCPD will refer any complaint of discriminatory policing to IAB for a full
investigation. Agreement III(b)(iii).
In response, SCPD has submitted Rules and Procedures Chapter 5, Section 2. R&P 5.2
includes a requirement, now found in section (VI)(C) of the policy, that [a]ll allegations of
officer misconduct related to illegal profiling, bias-based policing or discriminatory policing,
regardless of the manner in which reported, shall be forwarded to Internal Affairs Bureau no later
than 48 hours from receipt. Second Compliance Report Att. 4, at 7. This meets and, in fact,
exceeds the requirement in the Agreement.
Under the Agreement, SCPD needs to assess whether this policy is being followed. We
ask that SCPD inform us how it will assess whether members are observing this directive.
In response to a concern voiced by the United States, SCPD has also introduced language
into R&P 5.2 prohibiting members from questioning complainants in an accusatory manner
during complaint intake. SCPD also proposes to insert the word immediately in targeted
locations to emphasize the urgency of promptly accepting, routing, and notifying superiors of a
complaint. We appreciate these steps.
SCPD has also proposed the following additional changes to the policy:

Deleting the definitions of illegal profiling and biased policing, possibly because these
terms are defined elsewhere in SCPD policy.
Changing the terms Racial bias, racial discrimination, and/or profiling to
Biased/discriminatory policing and/or illegal profiling under the section listing the
types of alleged misconduct that trigger Internal Affairs Bureau investigations.
Adding the language All completed cases involved allegations of biased/discriminatory
policing and/or illegal profiling shall be forwarded to the Police Commissioner
immediately upon completion for review to the section describing the responsibilities of
the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Contingent upon the parties identifying appropriate language for a definition for illegal
profiling and biased policing, as described above, the United States does not oppose any of
these changes.
Since the First Compliance Report, SCPD has removed helpful language from R&P 5.2. 6
R&P 5.2 no longer contains a statement that the policys purpose is to ensure referral of
complaints of discriminatory policing (among other types of complaints) to the officer in charge
without delay. Compare First Compliance Report, Att. 3, at 1, with Second Compliance Report,
Att.4, at 1. The current version of R&P 5.2 also omits language from the previous version
specifying that complaints of illegal profiling, biased policing, and discriminatory policing each
6

The draft produced did not indicate where language was deleted. In the future, it would be useful to have redlines
indicating changes from prior versions.

qualify as allegations of official misconduct. Compare First Compliance Report, Att. 3, at 2,


with Second Compliance Report, Att.4, at 2. Although neither change conflicts per se with the
language of Paragraph III(b)(iii) of the Agreement, we do not believe that these changes
strengthen the policy, and we encourage SCPD to reinstate the previous language.
SCPD has also agreed to send a copy of any discriminatory policing complaint and
material documenting the resulting investigation to the United States within five business days of
completing the investigation, throughout the pendency of the Agreement. See Agreement
III(b)(iii). The United States has received five such reports to date. SCPD has consistently
sent the United States these reports within five days of SCPD leadership completing their review
of the completed investigation, or within a reasonable time thereafter. We will be reviewing
these reports for the quality of the investigation and providing comments relevant to the
implementation of the Agreement.
iv. Discipline for Substantiated Complaints of Discriminatory Policing
Under subparagraph (b)(iv) of this Section, SCPD officers who are found to have
engaged in discriminatory policing will be subjected to disciplinary action and, where
appropriate, will be referred for possible criminal prosecution. Id. III(b)(iv).
The United States is aware of the allegations against former SCPD Officer Scott Greene.
As SCPD leadership acknowledged during meetings in December, the mere allegations of
criminal behavior by Sergeant Greene have negatively impacted the communitys perceptions of
SCPD. Community advocates have alleged that officers besides Sergeant Greene engaged in
similar conduct. Given the agreements requirement that SCPD conduct investigations into
allegations of discriminatory policing, we encourage SCPD to follow up with advocates
regarding these allegations. We look forward to receiving any such investigative reports upon
their completion.
v. Hiring, Promotion, and Performance Assessments
Subsection (b)(v) requires SCPD to
maintain and implement a policy that promotes bias-free policing and equal
protection within its hiring, promotion, and performance assessment processes.
Officers who have a history of engaging in biased policing practices will not be
entitled to promotional opportunities, except as required by collective bargaining
laws and Civil Service Laws, rules and regulations.
Id. III(b)(v).
In response to the United States recommendation that SCPD take additional steps to
promote bias-free policing and equal protection in hiring processes, SCPD reports: (1) it has
drafted a Command General Order directing the Applicant Investigation Section to review the
backgrounds of all candidates for a history of biased policing or discrimination; and (2) SCPD
intends to amend Rules and Procedures Chapter 26, Section 1 to direct the Recruitment Section
to incorporate the Departments commitment to Bias-Free Policing in its solicitations and
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literature. SCPD attached an advertisement for an upcoming entrance exam that describes
SCPD as An equal-opportunity employer committed to diversity and Bias-Free Policing.
The United States appreciates the steps SCPD has taken to promote bias-free policing and
non-discrimination. SCPD reports that the Command General Order will reflect practices
implicit in its current vetting of candidates for employment, and we appreciate that SCPD will be
memorializing these practices through a General Order. We also appreciate SCPDs steps to
advertise its commitment to bias-free policing and that it will be memorializing this commitment
in policy.
SCPD also highlights aspects of its performance review process, in particular the
following:

SCPD maintains procedures for supervisory review of patrol records and Early
Intervention System alerts, see Second Compliance Report Att. 7, at 9-10;
Supervisors review SCPD traffic stop data analysis on an annual basis, see id. Att. 8, at 5;
and
SCPD policy attributes significant weigh to a police officers history of bias-free
policing, and prohibits promotions for those with a history of bias-free policing (except as
required by applicable law), see id. Att. 9.

Each of these is a meaningful step.


Pursuant to a separate document request, we have requested that SCPD provide a current,
complete copy of Rules & Procedures Chapter 17, Section 2. We will review this complete
policy and may provide follow-up questions or concerns. In addition, we would like to discuss
SCPDs data collection mechanisms and how we and SCPD will confirm implementation of the
policies SCPD has drafted pursuant to this provision.
vi. Revised Chapter 16, Section 4
SCPD has agreed to implement a revised Chapter 16, Section 4, Arrest of Non-US
Citizens and Persons with Dual Citizenship, as previously approved by the United States.
Agreement III(b)(vi). The copy of R&P 16.4 appearing as Attachment 10 to the Second
Compliance Report makes non-substantive changes to word choice (e.g., has LEP as opposed
to is LEP on page 4) and number formatting, and addresses a handful of typographical errors
in the approved version of 16.4.
Attachment 10 complies with the terms of the Agreement. We look forward to
discussing how SCPD will gather data reflecting compliance with the policy.
vii. Report on Complaints of Discrimination and Bias Policing
Subsection (b)(vii) requires SCPD to provide, every six months, a report
showing civilian complaints regarding police services related to allegations of
discrimination and biased policing, noting the disposition of each complaint, if
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any, the geographic area in which the alleged discrimination occurred, the
demographic category involved, and what measures, if any, SCPD will take as a
result of the analysis.
Id. III(b)(vii). We have conducted a preliminary review of the report and will provide feedback
and a compliance assessment in the near future.
C.

Traffic Stop Data

i. Traffic Stop Data Collection Policy


Under the Agreement, SCPD has committed to implementing the approved version of
Rules and Procedures Chapter 13, Section 9, Traffic Stop Data Collection. See Agreement
III(c)(i). In its First Compliance Report, SCPD provided a copy of R&P 13.9 that conformed
with the approved version.
As we understand SCPDs Second Compliance Report, SCPD has issued General Order
14-54 to amend R&P 13.9 to add only the following language:
The Office of the Chief of Patrol will conduct monthly audits of T-Stop data.
Incomplete or atypical traffic stops and/or enforcement activity identified will be
referred to a precinct or bureau commanding officer for investigation. Evidence
of racial profiling or biased based policing will be referred directly to the Internal
Affairs Bureau for investigation.
See Second Compliance Report 11, Att. 12.
These are positive additions to the policy. We believe, however, that the policy needs
more detail and request that SCPD provide additional information regarding:

The portion of traffic stop data that will be reviewed monthly, and how it will be
selected;
The method by which incompleteness and atypical stops and/or activity will be identified;
The parameters of the precinct-level investigations that will be conducted pursuant to
referrals from the Chief of Patrol; and
Whether the audit process will result in alterations to the traffic stop data as originally
collected.
ii. Report Analyzing Traffic Stop Data

Paragraph III(c)(ii) of the Agreement provides, One year after the Effective Date and
annually thereafter throughout the pendency of this Agreement, SCPD will provide to the United
States a report analyzing the collected traffic stop data and explaining what measures, if any,
SCPD will take as a result of the analysis. Agreement III(c)(ii). SCPD does not include a
report on traffic stop data with its Second Compliance Report, but it does provide information
concerning modifications to its traffic stop data collection practices. Specifically, SCPD reports
10

that in September 2014 it outfitted all marked patrol cars in the Precinct and Highway Patrol
Bureaus with software necessary to collect traffic stop data. In addition, SCPD provides a
memorandum from a team of two statisticians proposing the collection of a range of data about
traffic stops, using data entered into the mobile software and from handwritten reports. See
Second Compliance Report Att. 13. SCPD reports that the statisticians will produce a report on
data collected from October 2014 onwards sometime early in 2015.
Although the first report pursuant to this section has not yet been provided, we would like
to engage SCPD in a discussion of the parameters of the data collection and analysis.
D.

Training on Bias-Free Policing

i. Bias-Free Policing Training


Under the Agreement, SCPD agreed to provide all sworn SCPD officers with training on
bias-free policing annually. See Agreement III(d)(i). The training must emphasize that
discriminatory policing, as defined in the Agreement, is prohibited and will subject officers to
disciplinary action. See id. The training must also address:
1. Methods and strategies for more effective policing that relies upon nondiscriminatory factors;
2. Police and community perspectives related to discriminatory policing;
3. Constitutional and other legal requirements related to equal protection
and unlawful discrimination;
4. The protection of civil rights as a central part of the police mission and
as essential to effective policing;
5. The existence and impact of arbitrary classifications, stereotyping,
and implicit bias;
6. Identification of key decision points where prohibited discrimination
can take effect at both the incident and strategic-planning levels; and
7. Methods, strategies, and techniques to reduce misunderstanding,
conflict, and complaints due to perceived bias or discrimination, including
problem-oriented policing strategies.
Id.
SCPD provided a draft curriculum with its First Compliance Report. The United States
provided written comments on the draft curriculum in September 2014. Those comments
recommended that the training sufficiently explore discrimination before shifting to topics such
as other constitutional rights; that the training incorporate interactive illustrations of how to
prevent bias; and that the training streamline its discussion of the disciplinary process, among
other suggestions. We also provided recommendations for how the training could meet the
seven enumerated requirements set forth above.
SCPD provided revisions to the bias-free policing training curriculum in October 2014
and again in November 2014. SCPD also provided trainers notes associated with the curriculum
11

on January 9, 2015. The United States discussed the training by conference call with SCPD on
January 14, 2015. We look forward to reviewing the revised curriculum.
ii. Cultural Sensitivity
SCPD is also required to conduct cultural sensitivity training. See Agreement III(d)(ii).
We will provide feedback on the training curriculum at the earliest possible date.
2.

HATE CRIMES AND HATE INCIDENTS


A.

Training

Under the Agreement, SCPD must annually train 7 all officers on hate crimes and hate
incidents. See Agreement IV(a)(i). The training curriculum must include the elements of
relevant crimes, including hate crimes and bias crimes; and [h]ow to properly charge offenses
and avoid the downgrading of crimes, including hate crimes and hate incidents. See id.
SCPD attached a training module to its July 2014 Compliance Report. In October 2014,
SCPD delivered an updated curriculum that features seven slides and instructors notes at the
bottom of each slide. The United States provided written comments on these drafts of the hate
crimes training curricula in September and December 2014, respectively. 8 The comments
provided should help guide SCPD towards a training curriculum that ensures that officers can
apply the elements of the relevant crimes, properly charge offenses, and avoid downgrading. See
Agreement IV(a)(i).

Training means education and instruction that comports with best practices and may include, but is not limited
to, adult-learning methods that incorporate role-playing scenarios and interactive exercises, distance learning,
traditional lecture formats and computer assisted learning and evaluation. Training will also include testing and/or
writings that indicate that the officer comprehends the material taught. Agreement II(w).
8
By way of summary, the United States recommended that, in designing the curriculum, SCPD consider at least the
following:
Include the complete text of the New York hate crimes statute in the training;
Emphasize that the accuracy of the suspects perception of the victims class is immaterial;
Explain that the New York hate crimes law does not criminalize thought or prejudice; it is a sentenceenhancing statute that increases criminal penalties for specified types of illegal conduct;
Explain the harms that hate crimes can inflict on society more broadly;
Emphasize that hate crimes statutes do not only protect minorities;
Include role playing and problem-solving in scenarios that draw upon actual crimes and illustrate key
components of the statute;
Instruct officers on how to identify hate crimes;
Define hate incidents;
Advise officers of their responsibilities in responding to the scene of a hate incident or hate crime;
Advise officers of their responsibility to enter data sufficient to allow SCPD to track and systematically
address hate crimes;
Separate the hate crimes discussion temporally from the materials on bias-free policing, since both use the
word bias, but in substantially different contexts;
Using words that are accessible for a wide audience;
Dedicating sufficient time (estimated at two hours) to exploring the subject.

12

In addition, SCPD and the United States held a meeting in February 2015 to share ideas
on the continued development of the training. SCPD Academy leadership and instructors,
SCPDs Hate Crimes Unit, and the United States expert consultants attended. The February
meeting served as a platform for discussing a number of aspects of the hate crimes training,
including objectives, content, interactive engagement of trainees, and logistics. The United
States viewed the meeting as quite valuable, and we appreciate the good faith participation of the
Academy Staff, the Hate Crimes Unit, and other SCPD members.
SCPD provided a lesson plan to the United States at the February 2015 meeting. We
provided written comments on that lesson plan. See Appendix A.
We look forward to reviewing the curriculum currently in development as soon as it is
available. We ask that SCPD collect trainers notes (including descriptions of exercises or
activities), visual aids, participant handouts or other materials, and testing materials for our next
review. We also look forward to observing a training session to assess the training in action.
One particular concern merits discussion even as the hate crimes curriculum undergoes
revisions: the time allotment for the training. The United States has suggested that SCPD
dedicate two hours to the hate crimes training. SCPD has notified us that it may dedicate
significantly less time than this. We are concerned that this may severely limit the effectiveness
of the training because it does not provide sufficient time to cover the necessary material and
engage the trainees in interactive training. 9 While we recognize that there are limits on the
amount of time that SCPD can reasonably dedicate to training each year, we urge SCPD to
expand the amount of time dedicated to this important subject matter. We invite further
discussion on the topic if scheduling continues to be of concern.
Separately, SCPD noted in its January 2015 Compliance Report and in recent
communications with the United States that it has conducted self-directed learning on hate
crimes for many of its members. As a general matter, the United States appreciates the efforts
that SCPD has undertaken to implement interim protocols while the requirements of the
Agreement are being put in place. The United States also understands that SCPDs Hate Crimes
Unit has played a role in helping to develop the self-directed learning program, and we
appreciate this effort. We cannot offer formal comments on the self-directed learning module,
because the SPCD has not presented it to us. Please provide us with access to the module in a
convenient format as soon as possible.
B.

Tracking and Reporting

i. Tracking and Reporting Policy


Section (IV)(b)(i) requires SCPD to implement a policy to track, analyze and report
patterns and trends regarding hate crimes and hate incidents. Agreement IV(b)(i). SCPD has
made significant progress in this regard.

By way of example, the slideshow shared with the United States in October 2014 was only seven slides in length,
but contained an instructors note that there was not enough time to discuss one of the slides.

13

In its First Compliance Report, SCPD provided a copy of Rules and Procedures Chapter
24, Section 6. That version of R&P 24.6 indicated that steps would be taken to track and report
hate crimes patterns and trends, but the policy required more specific information about the data
to be collected and who would take responsibility for collecting and analyzing that data and
reporting on patterns and trends. See Questions and Concerns Regarding Suffolk County Police
Departments Six-Month Compliance Report 8 (Sept. 22, 2014) (September 2014 USDOJ
Comments). SCPD reports that the policy required updating to reflect practices already in place
that conform to the United States recommendations.
The Second Compliance Report provides an updated copy of R&P 24.6. This is a
considerable improvement over previous versions. The introductory paragraph in section VI(I)
provides a coherent overview of the data collection and analysis process, and identifies the
Commanding Officer of the Special Victims Section or his/her designee as the individual
responsible for maintaining a database of this information. Section VI(I)(1) requires the Hate
Crimes Unit to enter various categories of data related to hate crimes and hate incidents into the
appropriate category of the database and analyze the data.
We believe that the policy will benefit from additional detail in several of the steps
needed to collect, manage, and analyze data in a uniform manner. We recommend that SCPD
add information to the policy to specify:

Regarding Section I Number 3, what trends and patterns will be mapped or analyzed. One
type of analysis could examine counts of incidents at a specific point in time to compare
whether hate crimes occur more frequently in some geographic areas or to members of
some demographic groups more than others. Another type of analysis could examine the
incidents of hate crime over time to see whether there is an escalation of attacks against a
particular target group.
How the data analysis will be disseminated to relevant police units and personnel,
associated governmental organizations, and community-based groups.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss any of the above.


ii. Annual Report on Trends and Patterns
SCPD has agreed to produce an annual report on trends and patterns in hate crime and
hate incidents. See Agreement IV(b)(ii). The requisite elements of the report include:

Maps and analysis of potential patterns and trends; and


SCPDs planned response to patterns or trends identified.

See id.
In response to this requirement, SCPD produced a report authored by the Commanding
Officer of the Hate Crimes Unit, Detective Sergeant. James Brierton. Det. Sgt. Briertons report
presents a thorough and accessible review of the hate crimes and hate incidents in Suffolk
County in 2014. In particular, we appreciate the detail about each incident, the steps the
14

investigators took, and the efforts to identify perpetrators of the incident in question and/or links
to other incidents.
Although the report provides some information about how officers analyzed patterns or
trends, additional detail is required for us to assess the monitoring and analysis performed.
Regarding the database, we ask that SCPD provide the following: (1) the process of collecting
data and inputting it into the database; (2) steps taken to maintain quality control; and (3) the
analysis that SCPD conducts once the data is gathered. As to the third category, we ask that
SCPD provide a detailed description of the criteria that it considers in identifying patterns or
trends. A thorough analysis would consider:

Geographic patterns;
Demographic characteristics of victims;
Demographic characteristics of offenders (when known);
The type and timing of events; and
Alternative explanations for desultory patterns, such as failure to properly classify hate
crimes as such, failure to report hate crimes to police, displacement of crime from
patrolled areas to other areas. 10
C.

Quality Assurance

i. Policy on Quality Assurance


The Agreement requires that SCPD implement a policy describing its HCU quality
assurance process that ensures that HCU investigations follow proper techniques and
procedures. Agreement IV(c)(i). SCPD provides an amended version of Rules and
Procedures Chapter 24, Section 6 in response to this requirement.
Previously, R&P 24.6 described the quality assurance requirements in general terms, and
Command General Order 14-1 provided additional detail about the process. SCPD reports that it
has incorporated the requirements of Command General Order 14-1 into R&P 24.6.
There are a number of improvements in the revised R&P 24.6:

It now includes the contents of Command General Order 14-1

It requires that the Commanding Officer of the Special Victims Section review
15% of hate crimes cases each quarter.

The Special Victims Section Commanding Officer will base his/her synopsis of
each case on R&P 24.6 subdivision VI(D), Hate Crime Investigators
Responsibilities.

Specific supervisory reviews of the outcomes of the audit must be conducted.

10

Occurrences that appear to be patterns in hate crimes can be potentially misleading if alternative explanations are
not considered. For example, if hate crimes are not properly classified as such, a supposed decline in hate crimes in
the database could in fact be misclassified incidents that should have been input as hate crimes. Similarly,
underreporting or failure of victims to report hate crimes to the police can give the false appearance of decreased
rates in hate crime.

15

There is a mechanism by which hate crimes detectives will be notified of the


outcomes.

We recommend two additions to the policy:

Specify criteria by which the quality of the investigation will be assessed. The policy
currently states that the reviewers synopsis will be based on section VI(D); if the
compliance with the contents of this section determine a quality investigation, please so
state.

Provide additional details about how cases will be randomly selected for review.
ii. Audits of Hate Crime Investigations

SCPD has agreed to provide to the United States a report describing all random audits of
HCU investigations completed within the current six-month time period and any corrective
actions planned or taken as a result of the audits. Agreement IV(c)(ii). The information
provided in Attachment 15 of the Second Compliance Report is a substantial improvement over
the Audit Review submitted in the First Compliance Report. The audit attached to the Second
Compliance Report provides a more complete discussion of each of the incidents, the
investigative steps undertaken. In particular, Det. Lt. Hernandezs findings and comments for
each audit notewhether those handling the case properly classified it as a hate crime, hate
incident, both, or neither. Future reports should also include the following:

A description of the random selection process by which cases are selected for audit.
To the extent not already included, a complete list of responding officers, witnesses,
victims, and other individuals interviewed.
The criteria used by Det. Lt. Hernandez to evaluate each case for accuracy and
completeness.

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3.

LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE
A.

SCPD Language Access Policies

Under Section V(a)(i) of the Agreement, SCPD policy must require a current Language
Access Plan that explains how SCPD will implement its policies and procedures to provide
meaningful access to police services. Agreement V(a)(i). As SCPD notes in its Second
Compliance Report, we approved a Language Access Plan (LAP) at the inception of the
Agreement. However, as we have discussed with you, we have concerns about the current LAP,
which the SCPD has revised since that time.
We continue to be unclear as to how SCPD defines the terms bilingual, interpreter
and Department Authorized Interpreter (DAI), and what standards it employs for each of these
categories. In some instances, the documentation submitted with the Second Compliance
Report conflates the terms bilingual and interpreter. We are also unclear how, pursuant to
R&P 26.6, section C.3.d, officers are expected to review temporary interpreters interpretation
for accuracy and sufficiency. We suggest further conversations with SCPD and perhaps our
language access experts to address this concern and finalize SCPDs policies regarding DAIs.
The Agreement also requires SCPD to produce an annual update to the LAP. See
Agreement V(a)(i). We understand that SCPD is finalizing a proposed process for certifying
interpreters and qualifying bilingual officers, which it will provide shortly, with an updated LAP.
Paragraph V(a)(ii) calls for the LAP and Policy to be translated into Spanish and other
non-English languages as appropriate. See Agreement V(a)(ii). We understand that SCPD
has translated the LAP into Spanish, but is still working on doing so in other languages including
Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Portuguese, Italian, and Polish. We ask that SCPD provide us with an
updated time frame for when it intends to complete this work.
Paragraph V(a)(ii) also calls for SCPD to post the Language Access Plan conspicuously
in precincts and other County buildings, and on SCPDs website. See id. We appreciate the
results of the random inspections conducted by SCPDs Field Audit Section to assess compliance
with this provision. We will confirm compliance during an upcoming site visit.
SCPD indicates at page 20 of the Second Compliance Report at page 20 that it has, in
compliance with Paragraph V(a)(iii), distributed the LAP to all SCPD staff and community
organizations in LEP communities. We commend SCPD for this, and encourage it to continue to
distribute the plan to additional organizations, and to ensure that revisions to the LAP are
distributed as widely. In order to memorialize this practice, and to comply with the letter of the
Agreement, we recommend that SCPD insert a sentence into R&P 26.6 requiring redistribution
of the LAP when significant updates take place.

17

Paragraph V(a)(iv) of the Agreement requires SCPD to make Citizen


Complaint/Compliment forms available in all precincts in Spanish and other common nonEnglish languages. See Agreement V(a)(iv). We understand that a recent audit indicated that
one SCPD facility did not have the forms available, but that this has been corrected. We also
understand that the forms are going to be translated into other languages in the future.
Paragraph (V)(a)(v) requires that translation of vital documents and materials be
consistent with DOJ Guidance, in order to ensure that LEP individuals in the community have
meaningful access to such documents and materials. Similarly, Paragraph V(d) calls for
translation of SCPDs website. We commend SCPDs progress in this regard, will review these
efforts in more detail with our experts during our visit later this week, and provide feedback
accordingly.
Paragraph V(a)(vii) requires SCPD policy to ensure that the [a]vailability of bilingual
operators for complaint phone lines or a dedicated Spanish complaint phone number. SCPD will
indicate on its Spanish-language Compliment/Complaint form that the phone operator speaks
Spanish. Agreement V(a)(vii). We will review SCPD operations in this area during our visit
later this week with our language access experts and provide feedback accordingly.
Paragraph V(a)(viii) of the Agreement calls for SCPD to develop [o]bjective oral
language proficiency standards and annual proficiency testing for all IAB members who are
designated as Spanish-speaking or as speaking a non-English language. As noted in our
discussion of interpreters and bilingual officers, we look forward to providing the necessary
technical assistance in the near future to ensure that, going forward, SCPD develops appropriate
standards to satisfy this requirement.
Paragraph V(a)(ix) calls for SCPD to record and audit phone calls it receives through a
multi-language complaint hotline. We commend SCPD for amending its policies and procedures
to provide such a biannual audit. SCPD states that it has not yet conducted such an audit, but
will be conducting them going forward. Please let us know the timing, nature, and scope of the
audit that SCPD will perform.
We also commend SCPD for developing an Interpretation Tracking form consistent
with the requirements of Paragraph (V)(a)(x). As we work with SCPD to finalize R&P 26.5
regarding Persons with Limited English Proficiency, we hope and expect that SCPD will
subsequently provide us with data reflecting the use of the form and describe to us how the data
impacts SCPDs provision of interpretation services in its interactions with individuals who are
LEP.
B.

Revisions to Language Line Translating and Interpreting Service

The United States has no questions or concerns as to this Paragraph at this time.
C.

Persons with Limited English Proficiency Policy and Implementation

18

Paragraph V(c) of the Agreement requires implementation of the DOJ-approved text of


Rules and Procedures Chapter 26, Section 5. SCPD proposed changes to the policy in October
2014, and the United States responded in December 2014. We understand that SCPD is
reviewing the United States comments to address our concerns. We look forward to working
with SCPD to implement any improvements to the policy.
D.

SCPD Website

The United States comments on this subject in the other applicable sections of this report.
E.

Incentives for Interpreters

Under Paragraph V(e) of the Agreement, SCPD will maintain effective incentives for
bilingual employees to become DAIs, including assignments, promotions, and other means
available to the County. Agreement V(e). SCPD reports that it will be better positioned to
identify incentives for interpreters once measures for certifying those interpreters are in place.
We look forward to working with SCPD on this matter.
F.

Consultation With Latino Community Representatives

Under Paragraph V(f) of the Agreement,


SCPD will implement a process of consultation with representatives of the Latino
community to develop and annually review: implementation of the Language
Access Policy, including areas of possible collaboration to ensure its
effectiveness; accuracy and quality of SCPD language assistance services; and
concerns, ideas, and strategies for ensuring language access. This process will be
reviewed and approved by the United States prior to its implementation.
As indicated in the section addressing Community Outreach below, we have some
concerns about SCPDs consultative process with representatives of the Latino community
regarding the LAP. We urge the SCPD to do more to obtain advocates input into a variety of
issues, including language access policies. In particular, we encourage SCPD to solicit input
from advocates regarding policies and practices affecting the Latino community. There is more
work to be done in this area, and we recommend that SCPD and the United States discuss this
issue further.
G.

Training on Language Assistance

SCPD also indicates in its Second Compliance Report that it has not yet completed
development of a four-hour program to train officers to provide language assistance to LEP
individuals, as required by Paragraph V(g) of the Agreement. We look forward to reviewing
SCPDs amended lesson plans and instructional materials and providing input and suggestions.

19

H. Community Survey
Finally, we provide the following additional comments on the Community Survey
(Attachment 5 to the CRB Report). We understand that SCPD has implemented the survey and
has collected considerable data. Going forward, these suggestions are intended to strengthen the
survey results even further.

4.

Question #10 It may be helpful to list the language services that are available, to
facilitate accurate responses, and also to educate the survey respondent about SCPDs
resources.
Question #15 We caution against labeling kids hanging out at a particular location as
a Quality of Life concern.
Question #17 It may be helpful to provide a website link that connects survey
respondents to information about these programs should they want to learn more and
become more engaged. Perhaps this can be done through an addendum to the survey.
Question #27 It may be helpful to ask if individuals work in Suffolk County as well (as
a separate question), given that this population is also in need of police services and/or
protection.
Question #30- It is valuable to ask about a survey respondents Latino/Hispanic descent;
it may also be useful to capture data on the languages the respondent speaks very well.
ALLEGATIONS OF POLICE MISCONDUCT

Section VI of the Agreement requires, generally, that the SCPD establish appropriate
policies for reporting and investigating discriminatory policing. We appreciate that SCPD policy
now requires all officers to report allegations of discriminatory policing to a supervisor or the
IAB, that all allegations of discriminatory policing are required to be investigated, and that
individuals other than victims can file complaints with the Hate Crimes Unit, IAB, with any
officer, or at any precinct, as called for in Paragraph VI(a) of the Agreement. We have some
concerns, however, as set forth below.
Section VI(a)(i) of the Agreement requires all members to report allegations of
discriminatory policing to a supervisor or the IAB. Failure to report or document is grounds for
disciplinary action. Although Memorandum 14-59 requires that alleged violations be referred to
an officer in charge without delay, this policy is about citizen complaints and does not
specifically reference discriminatory policing in the purpose section. Nor does it state that
failure to report will be grounds for discipline, although failure to report would constitute a
policy violation. We recommend that SCPD issue a separate policy that outlines a members
duty to report misconduct, which specifically mentions discriminatory policing and discipline.
Further, we suggest that SCPD enhance the current citizen complaint policy by stating that a
member may report the allegation of discriminatory policing directly to IAB.
Section VI(a)(ii) requires SCPD to ensure that all complaints of police misconduct are
investigated even if not submitted on an official SCPD complaint form. We appreciate that

20

SCPD has a policy that complies with this section and will in the near future conduct a review to
assess implementation of this requirement.
Section VI(a)(iii) of the Agreement calls for SCPD to permit parties other than victims to
file complaints. We again appreciate that SCPD has a policy that complies with this section and
will in the near future conduct a review to assess implementation of this requirement. We
encourage SCPD to further publicize this policy and educate the community about it, as
advocates with whom we met did not appear to be aware of its existence.
Section VI(b)(i) of the Agreement requires SCPD to ensure that allegations of
discriminatory policing are forwarded to IAB no later than 48 hours from receipt. SCPD policy
has been revised to impose this requirement, and we will conduct a review in the near future to
assess implementation. In the meantime, we recommend that the policy be strengthened by
making it clear that any investigation, no matter the initial allegation, should be immediately
turned over to IAB if allegations of discriminatory policing are discovered.
We thank SCPD for providing a list of the 10 allegations of discriminatory policing in the
last six month period. We ask that SCPD provide us with copies of the documents relating to the
investigations of those allegations.
SCPD indicates that it has complied with the requirement of Section VI(b)(ii) which
called for SCPD to perform, within 180 days of execution of the Agreement, staffing of IAB.
We appreciate this, and look forward to discussing further the manner in which this review was
performed.
Section VI(b)(iii) requires the Police Commissioner or his designee to review all IAB
investigations regarding discriminatory policing. We understand that SCPD policy now requires
this, but ask that SCPD provide information and/ or documents indicating whether and how this
policy has been implemented.
Section VI(b)(iv) requires SCPD to maintain an IAB tracking system which does not rely
on individual identifiers. Again, SCPD policy appears to establish such a system, but we ask that
SCPD provide information and documentation demonstrating implementation of that policy.
Section VI(b)(v) requires SCPD to maintain protocols to analyze and address trends in
complaints relating to discriminatory policing. SCPD has apparently conducted such an analysis.
We ask SCPD to identify the protocol upon which the analysis was based; if there is no such
protocol, then we recommend that SCPD develop such a protocol and reporting mechanism that
is useful to SCPD for planning and problem-solving.
Finally, Section VI(b)(vi) of the Agreement calls for SCPD to conduct reviews of
randomly chosen investigations related to discriminatory policing. Reviews are to be conducted
by the Police Commissioner or his designee and should include contacting the complainant.
From our initial review of the materials currently in our possession, more work needs to be done
to ensure that these reviews are useful. We are happy to discuss this matter further.

21

Going forward, we will seek additional information to ascertain how these policies are
being implemented. Of particular interest is whether investigations are thorough and complete,
and how SCPD analyzes, tracks, and trends complaints of discriminatory policing. We also
recommend, to the extent that there are no or few of such allegations, that SCPD address any
existing barriers or hurdles that prevent individuals from filing such complaints.
5.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
A. Community Relationships

According to Paragraph VII(a) of the Agreement,


In all of its policing operations, SCPD will maintain robust community
relationships and engage constructively with the community to ensure
collaborative problem-solving, ethical and bias-free policing, and community
confidence in the Department. SCPD will maintain community and problemoriented policing principles in its policing operations. SCPD will also engage the
public through the dissemination of public information on a regular basis. SCPD
and the County will maintain systems to ensure comprehensive, effective, and
transparent oversight of SCPD.
SCPD reports that it has devoted considerable resources to its community
relations operation and has altered its organizational structure in order to ensure sufficient
personnel are available to conduct those operations. Our review of SCPDs community
engagement efforts revealed positive changes in its approach to community engagement.
There remains room for additional improvement, and we look forward to continuing to
work with SCPD on methods for achieving such improvements.
B. Community Liaison Officers
Paragraph VII( b)(i) of the Agreement calls for SCPD to create the position of
Community Liaison Officer (CLO) in each precinct. We commend SCPD for doing this, and
further, for assigning a CLO to the Community Response Bureau.
The Agreement also establishes a preference for Community Liaison Officers fluent in
both English and a second language commonly spoken in the relevant community. See id.
SCPD reports that two of its eight CLOs are fluent in Spanish, a language commonly spoken in
all seven precincts. It would be helpful to know how SCPD selected the precincts to which
Spanish-speaking CLOs are assigned. We request that SCPD share appropriate demographic
information about each precinct and its selection of CLOs. We ask that SCPD clarify as to the
standards and how, if at all, it applied the required preferences. We also request that SCPD share
its standards for determining fluency.
SCPD reports that CLOs have taken coursework in police legitimacy. Although not
required by the Agreement, we would appreciate the opportunity to review the training
curriculum.
22

The Agreement requires that SCPD post CLOs contact information and duty hours.
SCPD has included this information on the website. We recommend that, to the extent resources
permit, SCPD update the CLOs schedules on the website to reflect any variation from week to
week; this may be as simple as posting a monthly schedule with the time the CLO is on duty for
each day. While the agreement calls for CLOs to be available during normal business hours and
we acknowledge that CLOs are available at times for up to 13 hours in a day, we recommend
that SCPD consider extending CLOs flexibility in their schedules so that they can attend
weekend events and meetings.
SCPD indicates that a policy reflecting the duties and responsibilities of the CLOs, see
Agreement VII(b)(iii), and the required training, see id. VII(b)(i), will be included in Rules
and Procedures Chapter 26 1. It is vital that SCPD memorialize its improved community
policing practices in policy. We look forward to reviewing the revised policy as soon as it is
available.
The Agreement requires that CLOs conduct monthly reviews of concerns submitted to
SCPD to assess issues affecting the community. See id. VII(b)(iii). SCPD reports that it
anticipates deploying a software program to capture these concerns and store them centrally for
reference. We request that SCPD continue to provide information about the program as it
develops.
Finally, Paragraph VII(b)(iii) requires that monthly meetings be held in each precinct.
We note that SCPD reports that it is holding such meetings regularly, and we commend that
effort. We also note that SCPD has represented that precinct commanders are holding semiannual meetings with CLOs, as required by section VII.b.vii. To the extent that such meetings
have been held during this reporting cycle, please provide us with documentation of those
meetings.
Our review of SCPD documents and our meetings with two CLOs in December indicate
that the program has substantially improved. We look forward to confirming that these
improvements are taking place in other precincts.
C.

COPE Officers

The Agreement requires that SCPD designate community oriented policing enforcement
(COPE) officers as liaisons to specific communities to assist in community problem-solving.
Agreement VII(c)(i). As SCPD reports, it has yet to memorialize the scope of COPE officers
new duties in policy. 11 We urge SCPD to do so as soon as possible, to ensure standardization of
the roles and responsibilities of COPE officers. Please provide a copy to us at your earliest
convenience for our review.
11

Unless there are compelling reasons not to, SCPD policy should define the role of the COPE officer to include all
aspects of these officers role as set forth in the Agreement. Although Attachment 30 captures many COPE duties,
the description should be completed. In addition, the policy should capture the restriction on routine enforcement
patrols; as it stands, the first sentence in the definition of COPE officers in Attachment 30 could be read to permit
routine enforcement patrols.

23

We commend SCPD for substantially altering its COPE program in practice. The
program may be evolving in some precincts, but our review found SCPDs community policing
program to be robust overall. Paragraph VII(c)(ii) of the Agreement calls for SCPD to ensure
that COPE officers engage in a variety of specified routine community policing and community
outreach Our interviews with COPE officers and observations of their activities substantiated
that they are engaging in such activities. The precincts we visited each had at least two COPE
officers, who engage in true community policing as contemplated by the Agreement. Paragraph
VII(c)(ii) requires that COPE officers patrols respond to community requests or needs, and that
patrolling not be a routine duty. We found no evidence that COPE officers are currently acting
as roving sector cars, as they have in the past.
It will be important going forward to fully track and trend the activities of COPE officers.
The Agreement at Paragraph VII(c)(iv) requires COPE officers to submit monthly activity
reports to supervisors. SCPD did submit to us reports of monthly meetings (App. 8 to the
CRB report). These were helpful. However, these do not appear to be a complete description of
all activities by COPE officers. They list only a few activities each month for each precinct
COPE officer. We are unable to ascertain from the report and exhibits what other activities
COPE officers are engaged in on a regular basis. We ask that SCPD elaborate on the statement
that All COPE officers perform the activities required by this section as routine duties, and
provide documentation thereof. COPE officers should be able to demonstrate on a weekly, if not
daily, basis their interactions with the public and the results. We note that SCPD intends to
digitize monthly activity reports so that it can track and trend the COPE activities in each
precinct. This will be an important step forward as well, but only if the data recorded is
comprehensive. Please let us know when SCPD expects to have that system in operation.
We also encourage SCPD to extend COPE officers the flexibility to make themselves
available to community groups during evenings and weekends. Some are clearly doing this, but
all COPE officers should be available at the times when they would be most effective in the
community.
D. Community Response Bureau
The Community Response Bureau, as the fulcrum of SCPD community outreach, has
clearly expanded its activities, to some good result.
The agreement requires that SCPD develop and distribute a survey instrument in order to
obtain input from the Latino community assessing SCPDs community engagement efforts. We
note that SCPD has timely done so and indicated in the Second Compliance Report that it has
received more than 1,000 responses to its surveys. We commend SCPDs efforts to this point.
However, as SCPD appears to recognize, distribution and collection of surveys is only part of the
job. It is vital that the Department quickly develop the necessary database to analyze this data
and take action to address concerns expressed in the data in order to strengthen its relationship
with the Latino community.

24

E. Community Outreach
Paragraph VI(e)(i) of the agreement requires that SCPD policy will continue to ensure
that the Police Commissioner or designated high ranking officer(s) meet with key leaders in
Latino and other minority groups on a regular basis, both at SCPD-sponsored meetings and at
meetings held by minority groups. SCPDs response to this is in part to highlight the First
Deputy Commissioners meeting schedule, set forth as an exhibit to the CRBs Annual Report.
We have two concerns about this response. As an initial matter, it appears, and SCPD confirms
in its Second Compliance Report at page 34, that four quarterly meetings with Latino community
leaders were not held in 2014. We appreciate that SCPD has committed in the Second
Compliance Report to holding four quarterly meetings in 2015. We urge SCPD to ensure that
these meetings are in fact held, and that high level officials give priority to attendance. We also
ask that SCPD provide us with the schedule of these meetings, which the Second Compliance
Report states was scheduled to be prepared by February 1, 2015.
Further, our recent investigation indicates an apparent communication disconnect
between representatives from the Latino community and high ranking officials of SCPD. While
providing information to the community about policing issues and keeping representatives
informed is a crucial part of establishing good rapport with the community, we encourage SCPD
to solicit genuine input and ideas from community representatives as well at those meetings.
Additionally, we are impressed with the First Deputy Commissioners energy and the
sheer number of meetings she appears to have attended. However, we note that the Agreement
specifically calls for regular meetings with key leaders in the Latino and other minority
groups. The purpose of Paragraph VII(e)(i) is to facilitate communication between SCPD
and minority community leaders about concerns about policing issues. While again, we
commend the Deputy Commissioner for her outreach efforts, few, if any of the meetings listed
appear to address the purpose of this section. In fact, we are able to discern only two meetings
that are directly with a Latino advocacy group, both with Make the Road New York. If we are
incorrect in our conclusions, we ask that SCPD provide clarification. Otherwise, we urge SCPD
to engage in further, constructive meetings with Latino and other minority community
representatives to address specific concerns about policing in those communities.
Paragraph VII(e)(iii) states that SCPD will engage the Latino community on an informal
basis through community events to maintain a good relationship with the Latino community.
We commend SCPDs efforts in this regard, which we witnessed personally. We attended a
Vamos a Hablar program at a local school in Huntington. The program, attended by the First
Deputy Commissioner, was extraordinarily well attended by parents and children in the local
Latino community, and the response to police officials was warm. Such events are clearly a
good way to build up positive community relationships. We encourage SCPD to continue to
build on those relationships.
SCPD reports that it has engaged Latino community representatives in the form of the
Latino Community Advisory Committee regarding language access. SCPD reports that its
Advisory Committee most often recommends hiring additional Spanish-speaking officers. See
25

Second Compliance Report at 61. We are pleased to hear that SCPD has been able to identify
seven qualified Spanish-speaking recruits. We also know that SCPD has devoted substantial
resources towards recruiting and advertising opportunities to apply for entrance to the force. To
the extent SCPD seeks to bolster its outreach to Spanish-speaking communities in response to the
Advisory Committees concerns, Spanish-language media (newspaper, television, and AM radio)
outlets and local schools may offer entre into these communities. We understand that these
efforts may be underway.
We also commend SCPD for making its compliance reports available to the public, both
online and in hard copy at police precincts. However, the agreement calls for all nonconfidential audits and reports related to the implementation of this Agreement to be made
public. That should include other documents, including data from community surveys as it is
developed, as well as other information demonstrating the efforts that SCPD is making to
comply with the Settlement Agreement.
Finally, we reiterate our appreciation to the SCPD for producing Nixle alerts in Spanish;
however, we have not been able to access recent alerts in Spanish, and wonder if they have been
discontinued. However, as we urged in our September 22, 2014 letter, SCPD must ensure that
similar alerts on social media, such as Facebook, appear in Spanish. We understand that SCPD
intends to do so in the near future.
6.

POLICIES AND TRAINING GENERALLY

Paragraph VIII(a) requires that SCPD maintain policies and procedures that are
consistent with the Agreement and that provide clear direction to ensure that members enforce
the law effectively, ethically, and constitutionally. See Agreement VIII(a). In many cases,
SCPD has drafted helpful new policy language and even approved the same. However, SCPD
has yet to make all of the requisite policy changes in the areas of bias-free policing,
accountability, and community engagement, as noted herein.
SCPD must also ensure that all members are trained and able to fulfill their duties and
responsibilities under SCPD policies and procedures. See id. SCPD must also apply policies
uniformly and hold officers accountable for implementing and complying with SCPD policies
and procedures. See id. VIII(d). SCPD has described measures taken to notify its members of
new policy changes. We appreciate these measures. We will also need to identify means by
which to demonstrate comprehension of new policies and practices. We look forward to
identifying these measures.
All officers who take trainings required by the Agreement must pass a basic
comprehension test. See id. VIII(b). SCPD appears to share the United States view that
interactive components of the training and post-class tests are critical to assessing trainees
comprehension, and thus are integral components of any training. We look forward to reviewing
the training curricula and the tests upon their completion.
Under the Agreement, SCPD policies and procedures must define terms clearly, comply
with applicable law, and comport with best practices. See id. VIII(c). In many cases, SCPD
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has adopted language from the Agreement verbatim and/or drafted new policy language that
effectively conveys the responsibilities of its members. As noted elsewhere in our responses, we
have concerns about the clarity of particular directives. We look forward to working with SCPD
to identify appropriate policy language. Many of the operations SCPD is implementing pursuant
to the Agreement, such as those in community policing, are designed pursuant to best practices;
we are confident that continued collaboration between SCPD and the United States will ensure
that the final product is excellent.
SCPD has agreed under Paragraph VIII(d) to apply policies uniformly and hold officers
accountable for implementing and complying with SCPD policies and procedures. We
appreciate that R&P 1.2 requires officers to familiarize themselves with the Rules and
Procedures, and holds supervisors accountable for enforcing subordinates compliance with
policy.
Pursuant to Paragraph VIII(f):
SCPD will implement a mechanism to ascertain whether Rules and Procedures
required by this Agreement are being followed and to measure the success of the
revised, modified, or newly created Rules and Procedures. The mechanism will
incorporate measuring officer accountability and seeking community input as part
of its metrics.
As SCPD notes, it has conducted several audits of its own compliance with discreet
provisions, and requested community input in certain areas (such as language access and
community policing). SCPD may be able to implement an additional streamlined measurement
tool that captures members compliance with most of the new policies and practices. We
propose discussions centered on how to implement such a mechanism.
Under Paragraph VIII(h), SCPD agrees to ensure that revised or modified policies clearly
highlight or distinguish any modification or change. SCPD reports that it has submitted policies
to the United States in compliance with this provision. Although this has frequently been the
case, several policies (including one attached to this report) have failed to highlight proposed
changes from previous versions. In the case of SCPDs proposed changes to R&P 26.5
submitted in October 2014, the failure to track the changes resulted in substantial additional
burden on the United States. We request that SCPD take care to reference previous drafts of
policies exchanged between the parties, and take care to note any proposed changes.
SCPD reports that it conducts a semi-annual review of the Rules and Procedures required
by the Agreement, and will memorialize its processes in an upcoming policy. We look forward
to reviewing the draft directive.
SCPD must ensure that Rules and Procedures made pursuant to the Agreement are made
available on its website in both English and Spanish within 180 days of the Effective Date and
within 60 days of each policys Effective Date. See id. VIII(k). SCPD has posted online
translations of several policies approved by the United States pursuant to the Agreement.

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Under the Agreement, SCPD must annually check its website for accuracy, formatting,
and ease of comprehension, and ensure that all applicable Rules and Procedures on the SCPD
website are translated by a competent translator. See id. VIII(l). On a positive note, the
website features several means to access Spanish-language materials and information. However,
the websites links to social media feeds only revealed English-language posts and alerts; we did
not find any recent posts in non-English languages common in Suffolk County.
CONCLUSION
We hope you find our preliminary comments and technical assistance helpful. We will
provide any further comments as soon as practicable. We will also provide our assessment of
SCPDs compliance once we have completed our full review this spring.
We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the County in its
implementation of the Agreement and its enhancement of bias-free policing, hate crimes
investigations, investigations of officer misconduct allegations, language assistance services, and
community engagement.

Sincerely,

JONATHAN M. SMITH
Chief
Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section

LORETTA E. LYNCH
United States Attorney
Eastern District of New York

By:
/s/Laura Coon
Laura Coon
Special Counsel

By:

Brian Buehler
Charles Hart
Trial Attorneys
cc:

Commissioner Edward Webber


Suffolk County Police Department
Sgt. Christopher Love
Suffolk County Police Department

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/s/Michael Goldberger
Michael Goldberger
Chief of Civil Rights
Civil Division

Appendix A
Comments on Lesson Plans date January 27, 2015
The lesson plan submitted by SCPD provides an overview of material to be taught,
course objectives, and a list of legal references. The lesson plan should also describe the specific
material instructors will teach and exercises students will complete to meet each objective.
Providing a full description of the instructional materials and exercises will allow the course to
be taught consistently, even by different instructors. It also allows future trainers to adapt
lessons over time to accommodate changes in the law, changing community needs, and SCPDs
procedural changes. Visual aids should also be paired with the lesson plan. 12
Abstract
The Abstract section captures an important concept that the United States has mentioned in
previous comments: hate crimes both victimize the specific targets and inflict a social cost on the
broader community. We appreciate that the Lesson Plans include this point.
The final sentence of the first paragraph in the abstract can be changed to read: It is essential
that all Suffolk County Police Officers understand these concepts and demonstrate a complete
knowledge of the Hate Crimes Law 485.05 and the ability to properly classify and investigate
hate crimes and hate incidents.
Hate Crime Statute
The Lesson Plan contains a recitation of the elements of the New York hate crimes statute and
other relevant crimes. This will serve as an important reference for instructors. Cf. Agreement
IV(a)(i).
Objectives
The Objectives identified are extraordinarily helpful, in general. The below suggestions may
help clarify the objectives identified.
We recommend that the prefatory language of Objective 2 be changed to read: Students will
understand and demonstrate knowledge of the criteria used to classify a hate crime offense
including:
[Retain the same list]
SCPD may consider moving the second sentence of Objective 4 (addressing role-playing) to
Objective 6. Objective 6 might be improved by using a bullet-pointed list, such as: Students
will participate in group activities and role-play scenarios demonstrating:
The differences between hate crimes and hate incidents
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SCPD has provided the United States with copies of visual aids for the hate crimes training; SCPD will want to
ensure that the content described in the Lesson Plan matches the visual aid.

29

The importance of gathering evidence in a fair-minded, non-judgmental and thorough


manner
The importance of equal application of law
The procedures required to properly document hate crimes and notify the Hate Crimes
Unit of hate-related events.

30