Bedford Police Chief Mel Padilla has been appointed by Westchester County Executive George Latimer to the Westchester County Police Reform and Reinvention Task Force, the Town of Bedford announced Thursday.

The working group will bring together county and local police professionals, elected officials, victims of violence, members of the Human Rights Commission, members of the African American clergy, justice activists and others, “to review in detail all of the procedures and policies that are used at the County Police Academy to train new police recruits and to provide in-service training for those already working in law enforcement,” according to the announcement.

Mr. Latimer said in a statement, “We know that it is not enough to rally, it is not enough to express heartfelt anger and frustration — and it really isn’t realistic for a white man to try to channel what is being felt in the African American community or any community of color. What is important for me to do, given my responsibilities, is to have an appropriate governmental response so that it is not just about the rally of the moment, but it’s about what we can do as a government to improve.”

Chief Padilla began his career with the New York Police Department. He has been a member of the Bedford Police Department since 2002. In 2014, he was appointed department chief, becoming the first Hispanic to serve in such a position.

Chief Padilla “will be able to call on his varied personal and professional experiences and on his years of leadership to contribute to the vital mission of the task force,” the town said in its announcement

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in a dialogue for such an important and potentially transforming discussion,” Chief Padilla said.

“As a chief of police with 20-plus years of service who also happens to be a minority, I believe I can contribute a unique perspective from both inside and outside of the profession,” he said, adding, “I feel it is critical that current law enforcement professionals are involved in any transformative process, particularly when it pertains to police training, and I look forward to this opportunity.”

Jeff Morris is a staff reporter at The Record-Review where he covers the Town of Bedford and the Katonah-Lewisboro School District. Prior to joining the paper he was a reporter and columnist for the Lewisboro Ledger and a business magazine editor.

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