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Ithaca Moves Police Reimagining Plan Forward, Mayor Awaits New Chief Search

ENDWELL, NY (WSKG) — The City of Ithaca is moving forward with plans to redesign the police department over the next few months by appointing a working group to craft the specifics of those recommendations.

In a discussion with reporters Tuesday, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick also noted that he is waiting on advice from the newly appointed group for guidance on how to proceed with hiring a new police chief.

"We want the working group to tell us 'Okay, you know what, go ahead and fill the permanent chief's role,' or 'Give us a minute because we may have some suggestions of how to reconfigure that position before you post it,’” Myrick said.

Former Police Chief Dennis Nayor announced in January that he would retire after holding the position for two years. Deputy Chief John Joly has been serving in an interim role since April. Myrick said he is confident the department can continue to function under an interim chief.

“Having an acting chief at the helm of the department right now is not causing any problems,” Myrick explained.

The advisory committee consists of 17 community members representing various constituencies. It also includes three current Ithaca Police Department officers.

Myrick said the group will be expected to present some preliminary aspects of its plans by September 2021 in order to include any budgetary items in the city’s 2022 budget. The initiative stems from plans passed by the city under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s police reform executive order.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.