By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners held its first official meeting Monday afternoon, Aug. 31, discussing how to replace one of its members.
The board is made up of Syracuse Town Councilmen Tom Hoover and Larry Martindale as well as Syracuse Police Chief Jim Layne. Mike Noe, town manager, would need to be replaced as a member of the commission since he doesn’t live in town.
Layne explained the commission can set how many board members it has. For a town as large as Syracuse, 3 to 5 board members on its commission is recommended. Civilians can serve on the commission, however a stipend must be determined and a $5,000 bond purchased for civilian commission members.
Layne mentioned the ordinance, which was approved last year, needs to be amended and he has some questions regarding establishing the police commissioners for Vern Landis, town attorney.
After some discussion, Layne said he would approach Syracuse Town Councilman Bill Musser to see if he would replace Noe. Currently, Martindale will serve a three-year term on the commission, Hoover a two year term and if Musser agrees, he would serve a one year term.
The commission elected officers, naming Hoover president and Martindale secretary.
The commission reviewed the agency report which covers the same information Layne presents to the Syracuse Town Council every month, except the commission’s report covered January through July 2020.
Hoover asked about reserve officers. Layne said three have gone through the county’s reserve academy however, the department has not initiated rides along with a field training officer due to COVID restrictions. He hopes to be able to address that in the near future.
The police commissioners will meet quarterly each year. Layne suggested the police commissioners meet early in the month in case anything needs to be brought before the Syracuse Town Council for approval.
Discussion turned toward academy training and officers wearing body cameras. Both Hoover and Martindale asked how the body cameras worked, whether officers had to turn them on themselves when exiting the car or if they turned on automatically. Layne explained the officers had to turn them on as they exited their squad car.
Layne also told Hoover and Martindale he hopes to hear about an $80,000 grant for new portable radios for the department.
The next meeting of the Syracuse Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 5 in the council chambers of the Syracuse Town Hall.