Leaders of the NAACP of Syracuse and Onondaga County say the group has not been fully embraced as a partner with the city's police department in the effort toward reform. Organization President Bishop Colette Carter says the process has been described as collaborative and transparent, with the NAACP referred to as a partner.
But she says any such relationship with the police department does not exist.
"We cannot afford to be partners with local police until we can trust they are performing in good trust and and honoring their pledge to eradicate biased decision making against people of color."
Carter acknowledges she served on the task force for the draft reform plan, but she says that doesn't equate to a relationship with the NAACP. She says they've also commented during the recent public hearing on the plan, and have had conversations with Police Chief Kenton Buckner and Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens.
"It's like dating. You can go on a few dates, but it doesn't mean you're going steady. We have to establish that. I feel confident we can," Carter said. "[This] week, the administration and the NAACP will begin the work on the appropriate language and framework by which we can begin to establish the kind of rapport that we hope will be fruitful."
Carter says the organization supports many parts of the draft plan, including cultural competency training...taking a deeper dive into the experiences of people of color. She says they're also a proponent of overhauling the department's hiring, promotion, and retention policies.