HUDSON — The resolution requiring the police department to provide gender and race data will be rewritten.
Every council member with the exception of 5th Ward Alderman Dominic Merante voted Jan. 19 in favor of a resolution requiring the Hudson Police Department to provide monthly reports with the gender and racial identity of anyone stopped by police, as well as where they were stopped, including drivers and pedestrians. Nationwide racial profiling and the council requesting a 25 mph speed limit in Hudson were among the reasons for the resolution.
Merante called the resolution premature during the January vote. Hudson resident John Kane questioned the council after the vote asking if the police department or Police Chief L. Edward Moore were consulted on the resolution. They were not, to Common Council President Thomas DePietro’s knowledge, he said. Moore confirmed he was not included.
Fourth Ward Alderman John Rosenthal called the resolution noncontroversial, saying it is about data collection. When Kane asked who wrote the resolution, DePietro took issue with the relevance of the question.
DePietro turned over the resolution to city attorney Jeffrey Baker, who developed it.
“There were some problems with the actual resolution and we’re working on an amended version as we speak,” DePietro said.
Moore and the police union were concerned about the resolution and pointed out problems with it, DePietro added. He hopes to have it revised by the Feb. 16 formal council meeting.
The police department does not oppose reporting data; they just need to figure out how to make it work, Moore said. The department reports racial traffic violation data with a sample of tickets, but not all.
There is race and gender demographic information for 490 of the approximately 1,000 tickets issued in 2020. Of those ticket recipients, 73.5% were Caucasian, 20.2% were Black, 0.4% were Asian or South Pacific and 5.9% were categorized as Other, Moore said.
Moore said he believes the department’s available sampling of ticket data is adequate, but he understands what the council is looking for.
“It’s not easy to do, but I understand what they’re trying to do,” Moore said. “I’m sure we will come up with something that will provide more data for the city council.”
Merante said he doesn’t know who is working on the revised resolution.
“This is why I think we need committees in this regard, because to rewrite something and then present it on the day you want to vote, I think it’s wrong,” he said. “I think we need to have more conversations about it and who was involved kind of deal and ask some questions.”
Merante was unsure of how resolutions would be formed when the new council structure eliminating council committees and replacing them with ad hoc committees was announced earlier this year. Committees can be ad hoc or as they were traditionally, but conversations are needed to form resolutions, Merante said. An ad hoc committee has not been created for the resolution at this time.
“When a resolution gets passed by the council and then two weeks later it has to be rewritten, that’s a waste of time and it’s a waste of money,” Merante said. “Because Jeff (Baker), our attorney, has to write it and that means that not a lot of forethought went into the original resolution... If this is how this new format is going to be, then there needs to be some real thought on how to proceed moving forward with the resolutions.”
Merante plans to reach out to Moore before the resolution is brought to the council.
“I don’t like voting on things that happened that night,” Merante said. “I like research. I like looking at things.”
When the initial resolution was passed, Moore asked DePietro and Baker to clarify definitions in the resolution, Moore said.
“The resolution came out and it was a matter of definition and trying to figure out what policy we could hammer out to get the information that the city council wanted us to capture,” Moore said. “For example, there are a lot of different gender designations. Do we want to try to get as much information as possible? And secondly, there are also issues regarding race and ethnicity and things like that.” DePietro said he is waiting to hear from the city attorney.