Can’t get questions answered at Village of Pelham’s first public meeting on police reform, is then ignored

To the editor:

I participated in the first Village of Pelham forum on policing about a month ago. I wanted the three questions I posed in my letter to the editor answered. The forum started eight minutes late, apparently due to one board member who was in the Dominican Republic (despite Covid travel restrictions) dialing in late (though not sure why the entire board was needed to start the forum). The moderator spent the next 25 full minutes asking each of the board members what they wanted for Christmas! When the topic at hand was finally introduced, and after waiting over 30 minutes to participate, I asked: (1) Whether women were considered in the diversity initiative? (2) Why Pelham has a virtually nonexistent history of women on the force, and (3) Whether the issues of cronyism and nepotism were seriously considered, as well? The moderator’s formerly friendly tone during the Christmas foray immediately harshened followed by quite a long congratulations to the board for their hard work, saying they went above and beyond the call of duty and finally, in answer to my queries, redirected me to read the 40-page page study myself.

By the way, I had offered to serve on the steering committee and was turned away, and the only other two people attending this forum who were not board members were either related to or neighbors of a board member. I tried, unsuccessfully, to ask follow-up questions, but was disregarded and/or talked over, and at one point, the board member in the Dominican Republic called my questions (which took maybe two minutes) a “rant.”

I tried to call for outreach to those neighbors of mine who don’t spend a lot of time online or even have computers, such using as door-to-door fliers, and was shut down on that idea as well, harshly told that “People have a responsibility to get the information.” Which, of course begs the question—because that is what I was trying to do. My suggestion would have been to post information at heavily trafficked shops such as DeCicco and Sons, the hardware store and restaurants as well as to have a door-to-door flier campaign for these very important meetings. I believe it is the committee’s duty to get the word out, to listen and consider alternate views and concerns respectfully and to include people outside the same cronies that are always running these committees.

My sincere hope is for positive change and inclusion of different ideas in the village generally, but can only say I was clearly not welcome on the committee nor at the forum.

Patricia Yak

9 Third Ave.