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Press Release

Justice Department Announces Achievements in Police Reform in Suffolk County, New York

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced yesterday that the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) has achieved sustained compliance with provisions of its settlement agreement with SCPD, including requirements concerning tracking and trending hate crimes and hate incidents, investigating allegations of police misconduct and development of policies and training. As a result, the department has terminated those provisions of the settlement agreement.

“The County and its Police Department have made significant progress towards ensuring that all Suffolk County residents benefit from constitutional policing,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Police Department has improved the tracking of hate crimes, is strengthening the handling of internal affairs investigations and has improved the way it handles complaints of discriminatory policing.  This progress demonstrates that meaningful policing reform and change can be achieved through our work. The Justice Department is committed to collaboratively working with the community, Suffolk County officials and the police department to ensure constitutional, fair and nondiscriminatory policing for all County residents. Residents across Suffolk County deserve nothing less.”

“We are pleased to see the Suffolk County Police Department’s progress in fulfilling significant requirements of the police reform agreement to help ensure fair and equitable policing and make the County better and safer for its residents and visitors,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “By terminating the areas of the agreement where reform efforts have been successful, we can focus on the areas that require additional attention. We look forward to working together to help the Suffolk County Police Department successfully achieve the reforms required by the remaining areas of the agreement.”

SCPD has made substantial changes in reaching compliance with provisions of the police reform agreement that the Justice Department is terminating, including:

  • SCPD provides annual training on responding to, investigating and charging hate crimes.
  • SCPD implemented a mapping system to track and analyze hate crimes and hate incidents. These maps are available to the public on SCPD’s website.
  • SCPD improved its systems for reporting allegations of discriminatory policing and accepting third-party complaints of discrimination.
  • Members of the public can now submit complaints of bias to any part of the police department — the hate crimes unit, internal affairs, any officer and any precinct.
  • SCPD improved the quality of internal affairs investigations. 
  • SCPD now tracks civilian complaints and internal investigations by the nature of the allegation, the status of the investigation and how it resolved the investigation. This tracking allows SCPD to evaluate trends and identify patterns of problematic behavior.
  • SCPD has developed and updated a number of policies, which are available on SCPD’s website in English and Spanish.

The Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York entered an agreement with Suffolk County in January 2014 to ensure that SCPD provides fair and equitable policing services to all members of the Suffolk County community, including the Latino community.

In determining that SCPD has achieved and sustained full and effective compliance with significant portions of the agreement, the United States relied on its own independent evaluations of SCPD’s compliance.

Contact

John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated May 24, 2024

Topics
Access to Justice
Civil Rights