Syracuse Police Reform

Police Reform: A Continuous Improvement Process.

As required under Governor Cuomo’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, the City of Syracuse has released the Syracuse Police Reform and Reinvention Plan. The draft plan was presented to the Syracuse Common Council Public Safety Committee at its regularly scheduled meeting on January 27. The Public Safety Committee indicated it will conduct additional committee meetings and provide an opportunity for public input. Information on participating in Council meetings can be found at in the Calendar of Events and Public Meetings. To comply with the Governor’s order, a final plan must be adopted by the Council before April 1, 2021.

Click below to see and comment on the plan.

Syracuse Police Reform & Reinvention: Draft Plan for Public Comment (Download)

Syracuse Police Reform & Reinvention: Updated Plan (Download) 03.08.2021

Prioritizing Police-Community Accountability & Relations

Creating reform of a longstanding system requires urgency and cross-sector collaboration informed by people, data, and accountability measures. Since becoming Mayor in 2018, enhancing police accountability and improving police-community relations has been a high priority for Mayor Walsh’s administration. He conducted a national search for a new police chief, appointing Kenton Buckner to the job following direct involvement and input from community stakeholders in the search. Chief Buckner immediately took on updating policies and procedures in the department, including use of force, traffic stops, body worn cameras and interaction with transgender persons. Following a use-of-force incident in 2019, Chief Buckner and Mayor Walsh conducted citywide listening sessions to address concerns about Use of Force and collect input on new policies. 

A National Movement

The murder of George Floyd touched every corner of our country. Mobilized movements like Black Lives Matter as well as corporations sought changes to government policies and procedures harmful to Black people and persons of color.  In Syracuse, we listened and we acted. Mayor Walsh issued the Syracuse Police Reform Executive Order  outlining actions his administration will take immediately to increase police accountability and strengthen police-community relations. The work the City is engaged in is moving at a rapid pace, especially in the wake of unprecedented disruption and economic uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Transparency in Reform


Mayor Walsh’s focus on police-community relations and accountability began in 2018 when he entered office and began a 10 month public engagement process and search for the next police chief.


In year one of Chief Buckner’s term (2019), the Syracuse Police 1) created the SPD Office of Public Relations and welcomed transparency with the media; 2) teamed officers up with mental health experts to begin Crisis Intervention Training (CIT); and 3) updated the SPD use-of-force, body-worn camera, and transgender interaction policies.


The murder of George Floyd by officers in the Minneapolis Police Department mobilized calls for police reform across the globe


In Syracuse, residents, lawmakers, and growing coalitions of new and old voices were engaged in seeking improvements to police accountability and “more progress, faster.” 


Mayor Ben Walsh responded to the calls for change with Executive Order No. 1 outlining actions to further strengthen police accountability, transparency, and build trust.


The administration has committed to working on implementing the Mayor’s Executive Order No. 1 actions with public progress updates