The City of Peekskill Common Council appointed five residents to serve on the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) during its Council meeting on Monday, November 27th. The five members appointed to the CCRB are Dennis Adams, Jay Buckiewicz, Antonio Knott, Lisa McClain, and Harriet Ray. The CCRB will provide a governmental structure to fairly investigate, review, and dispose of civilian complaints made against police officers, giving due regard for the rights and interests of both the civilians and police officers.
“I am excited for the appointment of these five individuals to serve on our Civilian Complaint Review Board,” said Mayor Vivian McKenzie. “The creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board was one of the recommendations formed by our Police Reform Task Force, and I look forward to the CCRB finally coming to fruition as our city takes steps to further enhance our police department, improve communications between the police and the community, and provide opportunities for citizens to be heard.”
Dennis Adams is a thirty-year Peekskill resident who has served as a Naval Officer for the United States Navy and is currently a Utility Manager for ConEd where he provides expertise in electric distribution construction, operations, and emergency response. As a Naval Officer for the United States Navy, Adams provided leadership to U.S. Navy personnel in daily operational procedures, ensured unit war fighting readiness via team training, and provided oversight for proper maintenance of military equipment. Adams is also a head coach for Downstate Volleyball Club and has been actively involved in the Peekskill City School District as a girls volleyball coach across the modified, junior varsity, and varsity levels. As a member of the CCRB, Adams looks forward to establishing an effective board that will solidify the creation of a partnership between the police and the community that is based on mutual trust and respect.
Jay Buckiewicz has resided in the City of Peekskill for forty years and worked as a Clinical Psychologist at the United States Veterans Affairs at Montrose for thirty-seven years until his retirement in December 2020. As a Clinical Psychologist for the VA Montrose, Buckiewicz provided individual and group psychotherapy to outpatient and hospitalized veterans, directed services for incarcerated veterans in the New York State Department of Corrections, and performed compensation and pension examinations for veterans seeking service-connected disability claims. Since his retirement, Buckiewicz has been an active member of the Peekskill NAACP where he is currently chair of the Environmental Justice Committee. As a member of the CCRB, Buckiewicz looks forward to educating the community about the workings of the police department, increasing community action, and providing greater transparency.
Antonio Knott has been a City of Peekskill resident for five years and is currently a Senior Finance Manager for Fair Health, Inc., a nonprofit organization where he leads all finance-related activities, which includes accounting, budgeting, financial planning, and analysis. Outside of his professional career, Knott is actively involved in Peekskill Pride, a nonprofit organization supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, where he serves as a treasurer. Knott was a co-chair of the Peekskill Police Reform Task Force where he helped lead and prepare a plan of recommendations with input from the community and members of the task force that included education, training, equipment, recruitment, hiring, policies & procedures, transparency, and more. As a member of the CCRB, Knott looks forward to improving engagement between citizens and the police, while providing a transparent process.
Lisa McClain has been a City of Peekskill resident since September 2022, and is currently a Supervising Investigator for the New York Department of Corrections. In this role, McClain supervises and acts as a Tour Commander in a large unit performing disciplinary investigations, investigates acts of misconduct for both on and off-duty staff, drafts interview and closing reports that summarizes the evidence uncovered during the investigations, and ensures the integrity, professionalism, and accountability of staff based on policy, procedures, rules, and regulations. In addition to her career, McClain is also currently a student at The New School where she is receiving her PhD in Public and Urban Policy. As a member of the CCRB, McClain looks forward to bringing her skillset and experience on bridging the gap between the police and the community, while helping to resolve any complaints brought forward with fair and unbiased investigations.
Harriet Ray has resided in the City of Peekskill for over twenty-nine years and worked as a Senior Billing Expediter for the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Associates & Critical Care Medicine for twenty-nine years until her retirement in 2016. As a resident of Peekskill, Ray enjoys the beautiful riverfront views, the various entertainment and shops available, and the diversity that is present throughout the city. Already a member of the Senior Advisory Board, Ray looks forward to being a member of the CCRB where she can represent the diversity that is present, be sensitive to the various groups that comprise the community and gain a broader perspective of the legal system so that she can make carefully informed decisions.
The goal of the CCRB is to increase community engagement, empower all members of the Peekskill community, inspire public confidence in Peekskill’s law enforcement, maximize communication and understanding between the police and the community, facilitate and foster civilian participation in the process of the investigation, become involved in the decision-making process and ultimate action upon complaints of police misconduct, and to improve police accountability. In addition to the five civilian members, the CCRB will also consist of two police officers in good standing, with one being a supervisory officer and the other a line officer. The five civilian members were nominated by a committee of prominent leaders from Peekskill’s NAACP, Latin, White, Black, Asian, Clergy and LGTBQ+ communities, with a final approval made by the Common Council after conducting a full background check and reviewing criteria. All members of the CCRB will be appointed for a two-year term and will serve without compensation.
Members of the CCRB will receive mandatory training on the rules and regulations in the police department manual, with a core training curriculum to include topics such as use of force, stop and frisk, warrantless arrests, search and seizure, vehicle stops, and other issues. In addition to the comprehensive core training curriculum, members of the CCRB will be provided training by the City of Peekskill Police Department and must attend a community orientation session sponsored by the Common Council that will further educate members of the public on the role of the CCRB and enable CCRB members to hear differing perspectives regarding civilian/police interactions.