The End of the Incident

In response to “The Incident” ( ) someone called “pro police” ( ) commented:  “FYI, the Syracuse Community Review Board [sic] found that the Officer’s actions were appropriate in this incident. For those that do not know, the Syracuse CRB is an independent panel that investigates Police Officers and complaints made against them. The CRB is very impartial and an alternative to the police departments [sic] internal affairs. Basically if the CRB finds that an officer acted appropriately, he did!!!! Hopefully this post remains here so people know the truth and another Officer’s reputation is not tarnished because this is only one side of the story.”

To which I replied “Dear Pro Police, One of the differences between you and I is that I sign my name when I write something. Here are a couple other facts: the Dept. of Internal Affairs no longer exists. It is now called the Office of Professional Standards (OPS). When a complaint is filed with OPS, they copy it to the Citizen Review Board (CRB) (not the “Syracuse Community Review Board” as you say). OPS’ determination was that the officer should have told me the name of my antagonist. I have not yet read the decision from the CRB; how did you get it?     Anne C Woodlen”

Pro Police also posted the same comment on “The Police Response to the Incident”  ( to which I replied:  

Actually, pro police not only is a coward who won’t sign his /her name, s/he is also dead wrong.  THE CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD DID NOT DECIDE THE OFFICER’S (NON)ACTION WAS APPROPRIATE.

From the CRB administrator:  “In light of your request not to have this case proceed to a hearing panel, the Board voted not to forward your case to a CRB panel.  However, the Board was concerned with the treatment you received by Officer Malinowski and gave strong consideration to my recommendation that the Board conduct a careful examination of the training and policies of the Syracuse Police Department in regards to the handling of cases involving physically and mentally disabled persons.  The Board would like you to know that it will continue to examine this issue as more cases come through the CRB office.”

The Citizen Review Board made no finding that the officer’s actions were appropriate.

I declined to have the matter move to a hearing panel.  Officer Malinowski is in his first year on the job.  I do not wish to ruin his career.  What I want is for him to get re-directed into understanding that he is not The Power.  He is to serve The People, not be a bully.  It is likely that he will have the opportunity to sit with the chief of police, who will help him to understand this.

Among more experienced, higher ranking police officers, there is a great need for re-training.  Police officers need to understand the atypical vulnerabilities of people with disabilities and how much we need their assistance.  Any disabled person who has not been well-served by the police can report it to the Citizen Review Board with confidence that they will be accepted and treated with courtesy and respect.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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6 Responses to The End of the Incident

  1. annecwoodlen says:


    You said it yourself: you filed your complaint under Felicia Davis, who got fired for not doing her job. There’s a new administrator in town. Times change; do you?


  2. Kate Falcon says:

    Although I can’t perfectly recall ‘the incident’ it didn’t seem like it was an issue involving disabilities so much as an incident involving someone threatening to hurt you. There should have been consequences for the woman who threatened you, not just the P.O. Am I mistaken? Anyone want to weigh in here?
    Regardless, all P.D.’s need training in how to work with various people with disabilities and your local ILC should be doing refresher training for the SPD cyclically. I’m very glad you followed through.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      The incident involved an apparently able-bodied person standing over me in my wheelchair and threatening to rip out my indwelling catheter. I’m pretty sure that ‘involves disabilities.’

      Insofar as I know, the advocacy directors at the two local Independent Living Centers do nothing useful.

      • Kate Falcon says:

        Yes, I remember that scenario, but it was her threat of violence that was really the issue. If you were standing and didn’t have a catheter she would likely have threatened you in another way. That’s what bullies do.
        Did you ever get satisfaction from your building management re this incident; (i.e. a threat of bodily harm from another tenant?) I hope you filed a complaint against the tenant as well as the SPD officer. The officer’s error may have been due in part to poor training and ignorance. Those can be fixed. Threats of violence that could be put into action are far more serious to me. Hey- I worry about you, so sue me! 🙂

      • annecwoodlen says:


        About all the first stuff, I no longer care. About you worrying about me, I’m touched. Stay tuned for new developments.


  3. An effective, transparent civilian police review board can mitigate widespread suspicion of police, said Philip Eure, president of the National Association for Citizen Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) . When the public doubts how thoroughly police are investigating their own officers, a board can restore confidence in the process. It can help protect citizens’ constitutional rights and assure that everyone has an avenue for redress, particularly those who can’t afford to sue police. And, most important, an attentive board ensures that the powerful figures charged with protecting citizens aren’t harming them.

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