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Public Safety Committee Looks to Next Steps Following Report on Hornbrook Road Incident

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Public Safety Committee Looks to Next Steps Following Report on Hornbrook Road Incident

Monday, April 20, 2015

After formally accepting Sheriff Ken Lansing’s After-Action Report presented last month on the barricading incident on Hornbrook Road in the Town of Danby, the Public Safety Committee of the Tompkins County Legislature addressed what’s next regarding examination of the incident and what can be learned from it.

The barricading incident at 127 Hornbrook Road began December 30, when Sheriff’s officers attempted to serve a warrant on David Cady and ended January 2, when officers entered the home after Mr. Cady died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Through today’s formal acceptance, the committee acknowledged receipt of the report and that the Sheriff’s Office had provided the summary it had requested. Chair Nate Shinagawa credited the Sheriff and Undersheriff with providing an “excellent and thorough analysis” in the report.

As a next step, the committee, as recommended by chair Shinagawa, supported seeking some form of expert review to provide an outside perspective on factors including appropriateness and proportionality of the response and which would focus not only on the incident itself, but also on the context of actions related to Mr. Cady that led up to the standoff.  It was stressed that the action should not imply improper action by law enforcement, but focus on lessons to be learned to provide guidance in the future. 

While discussion first focused on the approach of beginning to prepare a Request for Proposals for an outside expert, it was later suggested that assistance could take the form of technical assistance through the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the committee asked that the County first inquire about the prospects of a technical assistance request before beginning to develop a possible RFP.  Committee member Jim Dennis dissented in the vote to pursue an outside review, expressing the belief that such further review is not needed and, in the case of seeking an outside expert, could involve unnecessary cost.  Sheriff Ken Lansing said his office would fully cooperate with any study.

County Administrator Joe Mareane also shared with the committee the Operational Plan for Critical Incident Response developed to apply an organizational framework consistent with the County’s comprehensive emergency management plan to critical incident response.  The Operational Plan, adopted by the committee, provides a structure to coordinate law enforcement and civilian elements of the response.  The aim is to ensure such elements as accurate, clear, timely communication with the media, elected officials, and the general public; support services including victim assistance and shelter; logistical support; procurement of necessary equipment; and other items to augment direct law enforcement response.

Undersheriff Brian Robison also reported on progress toward developing the program to provide body cameras for officers, in cooperation with the City of Ithaca, with a report on policy and equipment to be provided next month, with implementation expected later on this year.