NY Police Department Improves Under Monitor’s Supervision

According to a federal monitor, the previously problematic Wallkill, New York Police Department has benefited from the guidance of federal supervision and has significantly improved its community relations. Wallkill became notorious last year after a series of high profile cases exposed the Department’s systematic practice of harassing women citizens and fellow police officers. In his July report, Federal Monitor Dean Esserman cited the appointment of a new police chief, an expanded force and an increase in salaries among the positive changes that have contributed to the Department’s progress. Local frustration with the abusive behavior of police officers eventually prompted the investigation that led to the appointment of the federal monitor in June 2001. Current Police Chief Robert C. Hertman attributes the department’s past performance to “systemic leadership failures,” which he has taken steps to remedy. Since being appointed he has hired four new officers and plans to hire seven more, and has established a 24-hour police complaint hotline. While the numbers of formal complaints have increased from previous years, Chief Hertman says that none of the complaints were of the seriousness that warranted the federal monitor, and that he actually sees the increase as an indication of improved community relations.


New York Times, 08/17/02

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