How are we reporting progress on Executive Order actions?

  • Initiated Kick-Off indicates that work on an executive order action has begun
  • Planning indicates that working groups are completing initial discovery, conception, and planning around how to meet the requirements for the action
  • Implementing indicates that internal plans are actively being executed and milestones and outcomes are either in progress or coming soon pending action from another governmental body
  • Completed indicates that the administration has met its commitment on this executive order action and published proof of completion in a progress update
  • Monitoring/Ongoing indicates monitoring and practice of this executive order action is ongoing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Syracuse Police Reform.

Why did Mayor Walsh issue an Executive Order?

Since taking office in 2018 Mayor Walsh has been committed to police reform and implementing the steps necessary to empower the Syracuse Police Department to incorporate policing policies and practices in line with 21st Century policing principles:

  • Building trust & legitimacy between police and the citizens they serve;
  • Policies and oversight that reflect community values;
  • Using technology and social media to engage and educate the community while ensuring transparency, accountability and privacy;
  • Community policing and crime reduction strategies and policies that address public safety while embracing sound community engagement practices;
  • Training and education that address the changing requirements of police officers and expectations of the community they serve

When will the changes from these Executive Order items go into effect?

Each Executive Order (EO) action has time parameters. Below, you can click each EO action to see Where We Stand in our progress to complete and implement Syracuse Police Reform Executive Order Actions. In our progress updates, dates were identified as a result of reviewing various internal and external factors. We ensured that the timelines allowed for effective implementation.

Do some Executive Order items require action by other areas of government?

  1. EO1 Action #1 requires the Common Council to take legislative action on certain provisions of the Right to Know law
  2. EO1 Action #12 requires Common Council to take legislative action on any changes in how the Citizen Review Board operates.  
  3. EO Action #16 requires a collaborative approach with the Syracuse City School District Board. The goal of this EO action is to create a model for public safety in schools that addresses safety while maintaining an environment where learning is the primary focus.

Who is managing this process to ensure commitments are met on time?

The ultimate responsibility for implementing the Mayor’s Executive Order lies with the Chief of Police and his department.  Mayor Walsh is committed to ensuring that each of the 16 items in his Executive Order are implemented and has assigned Deputy Mayor Owens the responsibility of managing the process.

The Breakdown

The Breakdown is a quick and accessible view of the 16 actions within Mayor Walsh's Syracuse Police Reform Executive Order. At the end of each summary is an opportunity to +sign up for the Syracuse Police Reform mailing list. As City workgroups achieve milestones or complete EO actions, in-depth progress updates will be posted online and emailed to subscribers. 

Click each Executive Order (EO) action below to see the following information:

Action Title     |     Action Status     |     Action Description     |     Where We Stand (Progress Snapshot)

Status: Implementing

Executive Order Action #1: Right to Know Law
Review, revise and amend the policies and procedures of the Syracuse Police Department (SPD) to ensure the principles embodied in the New York City Right to Know Act are incorporated into the department’s policies and procedures, including but not limited to self-identification to citizens, provision of written identification to citizens, obtaining consent to searches, recording consent and making the record of the consent available to the subject of the search. This will be done in conjunction with legislative action by the Syracuse Common Council, which will seek to codify the Right to Know principles related to the reporting of investigative encounters.

Where We Stand: 

  • On October 13, 2020 the Syracuse Common Council passed the Right to Know law.
  • In accordance with the Right to Know law, implementation will begin December, 14, 2020. 

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on implementing the Right to Know law.

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #2: Update Syracuse Police Use-of-Force Policy
Revise Syracuse Police Department's 2019 Use of Force policy to ensure that it is compliant with recent changes in New York State law, and fully consider any policy changes requested by the Syracuse community.

Where We Stand: 
A draft revised use-of-force policy is available for public view and comment. Read the draft update by visiting Executive Order Action #2 Progress Update.


+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates the Syracuse Police Use-of-Force Policy.

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #3: Update Body-Worn Camera Policy
Revise the Syracuse Police Department's current Body-Worn Camera Policy to ensure that officers record the entirety of their presence on the scene of a police encounter.

Where We Stand:
A draft revised body-worn-camera policy is available for public view and comment. Read the draft update by visiting Executive Order Action #3 Progress Update.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on the Syracuse Police Body-Worn Camera Policy.

Status: Implementing

Executive Order Action #4: Complete Acquisition of Body-Worn Cameras
Complete the Syracuse Police Department’s efforts to obtain additional body-worn cameras so that all uniformed officers assigned to patrol or who otherwise respond to citizen calls will be equipped with cameras.

Where We Stand:

  • On July 13, 2020 the Syracuse Common Council approved legislation to ensure accurate compliance for procurement of body-worn cameras from the Department of Justice.
  • In August 2020, 220 body-worn cameras were purchased and acquired. 
  • In September 2020, docking equipment was installed.
  • Camera assignment and training will be completed by October 25, 2020.
  • Click here to read the full Executive Order Action #4 Progress Update.

+Sign up for upcoming progress updates on the Acquisition of Body-Worn Cameras.

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #5: Develop, Implement Plan for Vehicle Dashcams
Develop and implement a plan to deploy dashboard cameras on all Syracuse Police Department marked vehicles.

Where We Stand:

  • The Syracuse Police Department Division of Technology and Program Management has initiated and completed a 30-day pilot program (Sept. 5 – Oct. 5, 2020) with three dashcam vendors.
  • Next, Syracuse Police will identify and secure revenue sources for procurement.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on Implementing Vehicle Dashcams.

Status: Implementing

Executive Order Action #6: Complete Military Inventory, Policy, and Procedure
Conduct a complete inventory of all equipment acquired through military surplus programs that are in possession of the SPD; establish policies and procedures regarding the use of such equipment; and establish parameters for future procurement of such equipment.

Where We Stand:

  • September 2020, Syracuse Police completed an inventory of military equipment procured through US Department of Defense 1033 Program.
  • By December 1, 2020, Syracuse Police military equipment deployment policy and procedures will be completed.
  • By December 1, 2020, a military equipment procurement policy will be completed.
  • The administration continues to review the USDOJ Civil Rights Division Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department Report and its recommendations as a guide.
  • Click here to read the full Executive Order Action #6 Progress Update for details.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on Military Inventory, Policy, and Procedure

Status: Monitoring/Ongoing

Executive Order Action #7: Publicize Police Union Contracts Post on the City of Syracuse and/or the Syracuse Police Department website: a. The collection of documents that together comprise the most recent collective bargaining agreement with the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association (PBA); and b. A comprehensive summary of that collection of documents, which my administration prepared and presented to the PBA for review and acceptance in 2019; and c. The Tentative Agreement reached with the PBA in November 2019, which has not been approved, and which is now the subject of the impasse resolution process set forth in the New York State Taylor Law.

Where We Stand: 

  • Immediately after signing the Syracuse Police Reform Executive Order, the City published its contract with the police union (Syracuse Police Benevolent Association). See contract on syracusepolice.org.
  • The PBA contract is not currently consolidated into a single document so the documents' parts, its related documents and the 1998-1999 written contract are all available online.
  • Read the full Executive Order Action #7 Progress Update for details. 

Status: Monitoring/Ongoing

Executive Order Action #8: Publicize Syracuse Police Policies Make Syracuse Police Department policies publicly available on syracusepolice.org or syrgov.net. 

Where We Stand:

  • Syracuse Police have published its policies online for its use of body-worn cameras, use-of-force, and interactions with transgenders persons.
  • Future policies are pending publication.
  • Click here to read the full Executive Order Action #8 Progress Update for details.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on Publicizing Syracuse Police Policies.

Status: Implementing

Executive Order Action #9: Comply with Civil Rights Law Sec. 50A
Develop a process to ensure legal compliance with New York State’s repeal of Civil Rights Law Sec. 50-a and related amendments to the Freedom of Information Law, which require the city to disclose copies of certain police personnel records upon request.

Where We Stand:

  • Internal processes for responding to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for police personnel and disciplinary records have been developed and are currently being implemented. The Department of Law is actively preparing responses to pending FOIL requests.


+ Sign up for future updates on our Compliance with Civil Rights Law Sec. 50A

Status: Implementing

Executive Order Action #10: Actively Oppose Consent Decree
Continue to actively oppose any legal attempt to dissolve or otherwise eliminate the judicial consent decree which continues to be a critically necessary tool to improve the diversity of our police department.

Where We Stand:

  • The City of Syracuse is actively opposing the current attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to dissolve the judicial consent decree.
  • On October 13, 2020, Syracuse Common Council voted to memorialize their opposition to the decree.
  • Click here to read the Executive Order No.1 Action #10 Progress Update on Consent Decree.

+ Sign up for future updates on opposing the consent decree.

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #11: Review Procedure for "No-Knock" Warrants
Review the department’s procedure and approval process regarding the application of search warrants that seeks a “no-knock” provision from a court to ensure compliance with Constitutional standards.

Where We Stand:
+ Sign up for upcoming progress reports on Syracuse Police Procedure for "No-Knock" Warrants

Status: Monitoring/Ongoing

Executive Order Action #12: Improve Relations with the Citizens Review Board
Continue to improve collaboration with the Syracuse Citizen Review Board (CRB) to ensure the flow of documents and information as embodied in Local Law No. 11. Further, commit to: a. Reviewing the disciplinary recommendations presented by the CRB prior to making a final determination of discipline of an officer; and b. In cases where the Chief issues no discipline, or discipline that is lesser than is that recommended by the CRB, provide to the CRB a written explanation of the reason for such level of discipline or lack thereof.

Where We Stand:

  • Syracuse Police and CRB representatives meet regularly to discuss how to operationalize improved communication and have made marked progress.
  • September 2020, Chief Kenton Buckner issued a letter to the CRB committing to comply with Local Law No. 11.
  • The Syracuse Police Chief will fully consider the recommendations of the CRB prior to making disciplinary decisions.
  • Click here to read the full Executive Order Action #12 Progress Update on Improving Relations with the CRB.  

Status: Initiated Kick-Off

Executive Order Action #13: Train on Racism, Cultural Competency
Develop and deliver training on the history of racism in Syracuse and the United States, both in the police academy and during in-service training, such that 100% of the membership of SPD receives this training. Additionally, deliver department-wide training in cultural competency for law enforcement.

Where We Stand:

  • Syracuse Police are researching options to address this action.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on Racism and Cultural Competency Training

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #14: Review and Upgrade Screening, Recruitment, and Hiring for Syracuse Police
Continue to review and upgrade the department’s recruitment, screening and hiring practices, with an aim to increase the diversity of the department’s membership.

Where We Stand:

  • The Syracuse Police Department was selected by the USDOJ to receive technical assistance from an independent contractor to review its recruitment, screening and hiring practices.
  • The independent contractor will make recommendations for improvement.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on improving screening, recruitment, and hiring.

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #15: Research Community-Based Strategies for Police Response
Research and consider innovative, community-based strategies for responding to non-criminal calls, with a goal of shifting the paradigm from primary police response, to response by non-police professionals in relevant fields.

Where We Stand:

  • The City of Syracuse is currently conducting research and preliminary stakeholder engagement on police response alternatives and municipal participatory budgeting frameworks.

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on Community-Based Strategies for Police Response 

Status: Planning

Executive Order Action #16: Develop and Implement New Model for School Safety
Develop and implement, in coordination with the Syracuse City School District, a new model for school safety and security.

Where We Stand:

  • July 22, 2020 SCSD Board of Commissioners discussed School Resource Officers (SROs) at a remote work session
  • August 4, 2020 City and SCSD leadership met and began establishing a working group
  • A new school safety model will be identified by June 2021

+ Sign up for upcoming progress updates on a New Model for School Safety.