The Newburgh Police Department has been increasing its communication with a revived Facebook page, new information on its website and now an invitation to the public for a conversation with Newburgh Chief of Police Arnold Amthor.
The recent invitation is for anyone related to anyone who has been shot and killed by a member of the Newburgh police department. Over the past forty years, there have been three police-involved shootings that have resulted in a death.
“One police involved shooting is too much,” said Amthor. “The fact is that there have been three incidents in the last close to 50 years where officers have had to use deadly force. Between 1971 and 2006 there were no fatal police involved shootings in Newburgh.”
The invitation is an effort to increase communication, openness and transparency with families who might have unanswered questions about these events.
Additionally, Amthor believes that there is a false narrative of the police department that portrays an “untrue impression regarding police-involved shootings in Newburgh.”
“I feel that there is a bit of a false narrative that I’m finding within the community about the actual numbers of deadly force incidents involving the Newburgh Police Department,” said Amthor. “If there are family members that have unanswered questions that may not have been able to be discussed at the time or if those haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with a police chief here to talk about it they are now able to. It’s the transparent thing to do.”
If you looking to get in contact with the Chief of Police regarding police-involved shootings, you can call 561-3131.
“I don’t know if people will utilize this, but I want there to be an opportunity for those who are interested,” said Amthor.
Internally, the Police Department has been looking at new training for officers during this time of police reform.
“I think the Department does a good job of working with the community,” said Amthor. “I know there are people who might differ with that. We can always do better.”
The City of Newburgh has its own Police-Community Relations and Review Board as well. Its goal is to improve communication between the police department and the community and increase police accountability and credibility.
“There needs to be honesty and it needs to come from both sides,” said Amthor regarding the relations between the community and the police. “Certainly the police aren’t perfect and the department isn’t perfect. There has to be honesty within the community as well.”
To continue to increase transparency, the Police Department is looking to update information on the City’s website and add policy information and general orders.
Also, everything will be available in Spanish to help increase communication. The Spanish speaking population is the largest in Newburgh.
After not posting on their Facebook page since June, they kicked it back up in mid-September.
“These are trying times for everyone and it is important that we all continue to work together in keeping the peace on our streets, in our homes and during our interactions with each other,” the post read. “With these thoughts in mind, the CNPD is taking a new step forward to use our social media accounts as a way to help keep the public better informed about our department, as well as a way to connect with the community we serve. We look forward to connecting with you all.”
“We’re moving forward,” said Amthor.