Peekskill Sees Review Board as the Ticket to Better Citizen-Police Relations

At the swearing-in of the five members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) are (from left) Deputy Mayor Patricia Riley, Councilman Ramon Fernandez, CCRB member Antonio Knott, Councilman Dwight Douglas, Councilman Robert Scott, CCRB member Dennis Adams, Councilman Brian Fassett, CCRB member Lisa McClain, Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot, CCRB members Harriet Ray and Jay Buckiewicz, City Manager Matt Alexander, Mayor Vivian McKenzie

The City of Peekskill has formed a panel tasked with, in effect, policing the police. 

Mayor Vivian McKenzie swore in the five members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) during a Common Council meeting in December 2023.   

Dennis Adams, Jay P. Buckiewicz, Antonio Knott, Lisa E. McClain, and Harriet Ray all bring different backgrounds to the board.  

Adams is a former officer with the U.S. Navy who’s been actively involved in the Peekskill City School District as a girls’ volleyball coach. Buckiewicz is a retired clinical psychologist who has been an active member of the Peekskill NAACP. Knott is senior finance manager for a nonprofit – he’s also a onetime co-chair of the Peekskill Police Reform Task Force and is actively involved in Peekskill Pride. McClain serves as Supervising Investigator for the New York Department of Corrections. Ray is on the City’s Senior Advisory Board and says she can represent the diversity that is Peekskill. 

The CCRB is a direct result of an executive order signed in June 2020 by then-governor Andrew Cuomo. The order directed local governments to review police practices and policies, and design strategies to eliminate racism and racial disparities.  

The CCRB had its first meeting on December 11, and for now plans to meet monthly. City Manager Matt Alexander was on the seven-member nominating committee, and now, according to the city code, his office will serve as CCRB’s oversight committee” and is “required to conduct any disciplinary hearings arising out of complaints reviewed by the CCRB.”   

Alexander says, This brings more citizenry into the decision-making process. I feel that it is a positive aspect of this process that will allow more minds to participate and weigh in on a difficult process.”  

Adds Alexander, “I have a high degree of confidence that city police officers are well able to adjust to this new process. Our officers are highly competent and culturally aware. Chief [Leo] Dylewski and the police department were intimately involved in this process. He is fully supportive of what has come out of this community’s input. The community has been overwhelmingly positive related to the CCRB and are happy for this board to finally be formed.”  

Mayor McKenzie agrees: “The Peekskill Police already do a great job of engaging our community … the CCRB will improve relations between the community and police when and if there is an issue being investigated.” 

Larry Epstein, a River Journal regular contributor, is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer who works at News 12, and previously was at Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC. 


1 Comment

  1. Dear Mr. Epstein,
    Did you know that Peekskill is only the 4th munincipality in the entire NEW YORK STATE with an up and running CCRB?
    Did you also know that the person who was the architect behind Peekskill’s CCRB document is a retired and decorated NYPD Detctive, who after fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to have the CCRB document acknowledged by Peekskill, was ultimately disqualified from participating in every facet of its formation after it was adopted because of his insistence on keeping civilian involvement in the interview ofcmplaining witnesses? If you’re interested in any other shenanigans going on behind the scenes in Peekskill regarding this whole CCRB process, reach out to me. I’m not mentioned anywhere in the plethora of stories written about the CCRB in Peekskill, but I assure you that not only am I the architect of Peekskill’s original CCRB document, but I hold the copyright to it .

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About the Author: Larry Epstein