The New York State Bar Association released a 114-page report detailing over 20 ways localities can reform their approach to policing.

These proposals include requiring officers wear body cameras, creating a more diverse police force and increasing the amount of time recruits spend training at the academy.

State Bar Association President T. Andrew Brown says they launched this review shortly after the killing of George Floyd.

“We have pulled together an impressive group of lawyers, made up of some former police officers at very high ranks,” Brown explained. “We also solicited input from elected officials and concerned citizens and various stakeholders across the state to assist us with this. We looked at the information, we collected the evidence, the data, the research, examined it and came up with a number of recommendations that we thought would be helpful.”

One of the areas that the report focused on was the amount of training police officers go through and the time spent in the academy.

“If you look in New York, you only need 700 hours to become a police officer,” Brown explained. “You need more training to become a cosmetologist, to become a massage therapist and to become licensed in many other areas. It is unconscionable.”

Another one of the recommended changes outlined in the report is to require all police officers have college degrees.

The NYPD already mandates its recruits to have at least an associate’s degree to apply.

“We see that those who have college degrees are less likely to be brought up on disciplinary charges,” Brown said. “We see that those individuals also are able to do better report writing and better investigations, and that helps lead to less claims against police officers.”

The report also contains numerous recommendations that would modify criminal law procedures to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association President Thomas Mungeer sent a statement in response. 

“It appears that the report released by the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Racial Injustice and Police Reform is nothing more than a regurgitation of police reform ideas cherry picked from activist groups throughout the nation, many of which, coincidentally, the New York State Police already had in place or have recently incorporated. Suspiciously, some of the ideas would increase litigation against members of law enforcement considerably, thus providing a windfall for the members of the bar which they represent.”

The bar association says it recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to police reform, but they are hoping some of these recommendations can be adopted by police departments around the state.