(PHOTO: Councilwoman Pam Tarlow, in the red box, appeared at a recent City Council meeting on January 6, 2020.)
In a letter just before the holidays to the Rye PBA, Mayor Josh Cohn and the rest of the Rye City Council distanced themselves from comments made by Councilwoman Pam Tarlow at a Police Review Committee meeting on December 3rd. Tarlow made comments at the review meeting in December saying “it has actually become a joke in our house that you are walking Midland while black… I truly believe there is something happening here…”.
These comments drew the ire of the Rye PBA, who sent a letter the the Mayor and Council on December 10th condemning Tarlow’s comments. This in turn drew the response below from the Mayor and the rest of Council distancing themselves from Tarlow. Contacted Monday, Rye PBA President Gabe Caputo told MyRye.com “I appreciate the rest of city council stating this… they all seem to support us. I would love to hear Councilwoman Tarlow’s counterpoint or retraction of her statements.”
You can listen to Tarlow’s full comments on the video provided at the bottom of the page. The letter from Mayor Cohn the the rest of council to the PBA also follows:
December 23, 2020
Dear PBA President Caputo:
First, our thanks for your letter of December 10. It is important to us to know how our police officers feel, especially in these particularly difficult times. As you are aware, in recent years the City and PBA have made substantial strides in developing a relationship of trust and respect with the goal of better serving our respective constituents.
We wish to separate ourselves from any impression of bias created by Councilwoman Tarlow. We endorse the wish expressed by some speaking to our Police Review Committee that the Committee afford us an opportunity to build community – and our community includes our police force. As the Committee has made clear, the City is embarking on its police review with great respect for the women and men of our Police Department. We start with no assumption of wrongdoing.
If Councilwoman Tarlow has long believed that she has cause to question our police officers’ conduct, her first recourse should have been to the Interim City Manager, who oversees City staff, including the Police Department. If for some reason she did not do this in the year she has been on the City Council, and if she wished to raise her question before the Police Review Committee, then she, as a fiduciary of the City, should have raised her question without hurtful reference to the negative conclusions seemingly drawn in her own household.
We also wish to separate ourselves from Councilwoman Tarlow’s conclusory statements implying that police should not pursue suspects in “property crimes” and that our police officer erred in pursuing the stolen high-performance car that crashed in Firemen’s Circle. We understand police pursuit policies to be nuanced according to the relevant situation. In the case of the crash at Firemen’s Circle, we do not have any facts that would allow us to begin to judge our officer’s conduct. If Councilwoman Tarlow had such facts, she did not provide them. While an informed discussion of pursuit policies is appropriate with the guidance of police professionals, we do not subscribe to a generalized notion that our police will not pursue suspects in all property crime cases.
We expect our Police Review Committee to look into all questions raised to it and by it, including those previously raised by Councilwoman Tarlow. We also hope and expect that we, as Mayor and Councilmembers, in our dealings with the Police Review Committee, will act respectfully and in a manner that will build trust with the police officers upon whom our City relies.
Josh Cohn, Mayor
Richard Mecca, City Councilmember
Sara Goddard, City Councilmember
Benjamin Stacks, City Councilmember
Carolina Johnson, City Councilmember
Julie Souza, City Councilmember
Watch the listening session video. You can hear Councilwoman Pam Tarlow call into the meeting at 29:38 and speak for approximately three minutes: