This is a letter to the editor written by Acting Mayor Laura Lewis to express her support for the Reimagining Public Safety process in the wake of Mayor Svante Myrick’s resignation to lead People for the American Way. Lewis will officially assume her role on Feb. 7. It was not written by the Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor, please email Matt Butler at mbutler@ithacavoice.com.

The progress made to-date by the City of Ithaca’s Working Group to address Reimagining Public Safety led by Eric Rosario and Karen Yearwood, has my full support, as does the process in which we’ve engaged. I look forward to Common Council receiving the report and recommendations brought forward by the community and the working group. I am excited about making progress in 2022 and working collaboratively with Tompkins County on our joint plans.

This Reimagining work centers the experiences and voices of Black and Brown members of our community, who experience disproportionate interactions with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. It is incumbent upon the City to continue to fully support this work and commit resources and time to ensuring its success – this work will impact the most marginalized members of our community and increase public safety for all.

As Acting Mayor for the City of Ithaca and a member of the Working Group that has met over several months, I look forward to continuing to work closely with not only working group members but with community members that will provide valuable input to this process. I would like to thank our city staff, many volunteers and partnering agencies for their ongoing efforts and commitment. I especially want to thank Mayor Svante Myrick for his vision and leadership in this critical work to-date.  

The City of Ithaca has published a “frequently asked questions” document addressing concerns and questions posed by the public regarding the Reimagining Public Safety initiative and redesign of the City’s department to address public safety needs. The FAQ can also be found on the Reimagining Public Safety Website.