Ithaca Police station stock

Stemming from public input, feedback from focus groups and conversations with community members, the Ithaca Police Department and Tompkins Countty Sheriff’s Office have announced a handful of changes to the joint-jurisdictional teams, SWAT and CINT. 

Both SWAT (special weapons and tactics team) and CINT (critical incident negotiations team) were born out of the death of IPD investigator Michael Padula in 1996 with the goal of being better prepared for a similar incident in the future. However, throughout the Reimagining Public Safety the SWAT truck in particular was brought up repeatedly when talking about militarization of police. According to a joint press release from IPD and the Sheriff’s Office, the below changes “continue on the path of evolving with best practices, as well as making sure our mission, image and values align with our communities’ expectations.”

Both teams will be renamed, with SWAT changing to Ithaca-Tompkins Specialized Response Team, and CINT changing to Ithaca-Tompkins Crisis Negotiation Team. The change went into effect on May 1. The newly named Ithaca-Tompkins Specialized Response Team will no longer serve no-knock search warrants solely for narcotics or drugs on any residence within any jursidiction. 

Additionally, the SWAT truck (from here on out referred to as Truck 99), will be repainted. Currently, the truck is all black with the words “knock knock” above the front windshield. It is in the process of being repainted white, and according to the press release, new letter and decal design will be completed later this year “with the help and input from our community.” The goal is to create a professional design that “is welcoming and representative of what the mobile command truck is primarily used for.”

The weapons currently stored on Truck 99 will also be removed and stored elsewhere. 

The last change outlined is an update to the uniform color and equipment. Officers serving on the specialized response team will look as similar to a uniformed office as possible, switching to a blue or black uniform rather than a camoflauge one whenever possible. Camoflauge uniforms will be reserved for times that specifically require such a uniform, such as an operation in a wooded area. The process of updating the uniform color is anticipated to be going and take place over the next 12 months.


(6) comments

Richard Ballantyne

Weakening our police even further is foolish and naive as violent crime rates continue to increase in our town. It also raises the likelihood that the truck will really be needed for its "original purpose". What a waste of time and money to take something good/effective and make it worse. How will officers serve no knock warrants now?

John Butler

Good questions. Too bad no one can answer it

Joe Fischer

Of most significance to the community is that the police will no longer serve no-knock warrants "solely for narcotics or drugs." Whether or not no-knock warrants will still be employed in other situations was not made clear in the announcement.

"The Ithaca-Tompkins Specialized Response Team will no longer serve No-Knock Search Warrants solely for narcotics or drugs on any residence within any jurisdiction," the notice says. "This specific mission set has also been removed from all training curriculum."

chris johns

If "violent crimes continue to increase in our own town" then it is a testament to the fact that our militarized police department has nothing to do with falling crime rates. However, the increasing gentrification of our city (insert all the mega-apartment complexes over the past 3 years here) does correlate with the higher crime rates. People in poverty are pushed by economic forces such as the scarce and overly expensive rental and housing situation in and around downtown ithaca. Police address these issues not at the root of the cause, systemic racism, but at the conclusion of complex social issues that police are not trained in, and even adversarial to. Defunding the police did not spring out of nowhere, it was the result of thousands of hours of investigating police departmental corruption, racism, and the use of deadly force where none was needed. We haven't even begun to deconstruct your world of fear yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

John Butler

Now to get the firearms painted in a "Hello Kitty" scheme and we can break out the cocoa and puppies.

Henry Kramer

Waste of taxpayer money to pander to some highly vocal members of "the community" who do not speak for many Tompkins residents. Some of us support our police and respect them and the memory of Officer Padula. It is surprising that we have any police officers left with the shabby treatment they are receiving particularly in the City of Ithaca.

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