The Mohawk Valley region has been fortunate not to experience the violence surrounding police work around the country. Utica, Rome and the Mohawk Valley have escaped the unrest and unfortunate outcomes of police enforcement like cities around the country, including Rochester.

Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo required all municipalities in the state to come up with a police reform plan to be approved by the state, following Black Lives Matter protests around the country. Municipalities must submit their plans to the state early next year or face an eviction of funding for police departments.

Recently, the City of Utica organized a police reform committee charged with coming up with a law enforcement reform plan for the community, despite the fact that the region has seemingly been proactive when it comes to race relations. Marques Phillips, an African American city employee and former member of the media, was named to the committee and spoke with WIBX's Keeler Show.

Phillips, who's father was a Utica City Council member, told WIBX "There's a ton of pressure, a ton of responsibility...when your hearts and feelings are involved in something like this, um, passions run high."

Phillips said he and family members have been involved in situations that would be considered a negative experience with police. He spoke of one situation where a bank robbery was being committed, and when police arrived he was immediately taken into custody, while the actual white suspect was not apprehended. He said he was simply in the bank cashing his paycheck. Phillips also said members of his family also served on Utica's police force over the years.

Watch the Phillips interview here.


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