Date: May 5, 2023
Contact: Audrey Schwartzberg, ANCA Communications Officer,, 518.891.6200

Adirondack Diversity Initiative Allocated $420,000 in 2024 State Budget

$120K funding increase to ANCA will support Community Policing Initiative

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. The Adirondack North Country Association has been allocated $420,000 in New York State’s 2024 Budget to support the work of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI). An increase of $120,000 from the 2023 Budget will support the Community Policing Initiative, an ADI program that aims to strengthen the relationship between police agencies and the people they serve. 

This is the fourth consecutive year ADI has been supported in the State Budget, demonstrating an increased focus on building diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in New York’s North Country. The budget was approved by State legislators earlier this week on the evening of May 2, 2023. 

ADI Director Tiffany Rea-Fisher said, “Your budget shows your values, so the fact that the State is valuing this region, not only from a place of recreation but from a diversity perspective, safety perspective, and education perspective — that means that it truly understands the important role this region will play in the State’s future.”

ADI launched its Community Policing Initiative in 2020 with the goal of strengthening the relationship between police agencies and the Adirondack communities they serve with specific focus on eliminating racial disparities that disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized residents and visitors. The initiative also helps serve law enforcement agencies’ training requirements associated with Executive Order 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, which was issued in June 2020.  

To date, 162 officers from 13 law enforcement agencies and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) have participated in the program. The 2024 Budget increase will fund training of additional Adirondack agencies, develop next steps for continued education for trained officers, and training for new employees. The Initiative also plans to work with NYSDEC to train, expand and diversify its Rangers. 

Training so far has been free for all participating officers from municipal, campus and State law enforcement agencies; the costs have been covered entirely by private donations to ADI. According to ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper, those philanthropic funds were critical for getting the program off the ground and demonstrating its significance for North Country communities. She said the 2024 Budget funding will help expand on the Initiative’s successful first three years, while supporting the training needs of New York State’s own agencies.

“We are thrilled that New York State has recognized the value of this work and the service the Community Policing Initiative provides for our region’s officers,” Cooper said. “We are grateful to the elected officials who supported this budget item and demonstrated their commitment to making our region a more welcoming place for all. The impact of this work on our police officers and the communities they serve is both practical and powerful.”

Cooper expressed ANCA’s thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul as well as State legislators Senator José M. Serrano, Assemblyman Billy Jones, Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, and the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. She also thanked Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs Senator Peter Harckham and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, and Assemblyman Matt Simpson for their support.

ADI works in close partnership with police agencies, recognizing the difficult and vital work they do in public safety, law enforcement and helping North Country communities be more welcoming for all residents and visitors. The Initiative affirms the importance of police departments in making communities safer and healthier. The goal of the training is to shape the conversation in such a way that all participants understand that their voices matter and that there are effective steps they can take to build trust between the police and their communities. 

“Officers have responded very positively to learning about trauma responses — citizens’ and their own. They are reporting back to us that this training is giving them immediate tools to use in the field,” said Dr. Lorenzo Boyd, founder and president of RENZ Consulting, the firm specializing in strengthening police-community relations that leads the training sessions. “These trainings are helping to facilitate bridge building between officers and the community.”

The program offers three sessions that build on each other, focusing on trauma-informed policing, cultural competence and ethical policing. Through scenario-based training, which include introspective evaluation and cultural competence, RENZ leads officers through critical thinking exercises that address practical and philosophical issues related to policing in general and policing in the North Country. 

“We thank the Governor and Legislature for increasing the Adirondack Diversity Initiative funding to $420,000 this year,” said Raul J. Aguirre, Acting Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “We have come a long way since 2019, when the Adirondack Council, ANCA and our ADI partners first secured the initial $250,000 state investment in DEI funding. We are very grateful to see this program grow and will continue to engage with key decision makers to make sure this essential funding continues. The North Country needs this investment now more than ever to foster a safer, more welcoming, and inclusive Adirondack Park that stays forever wild for everyone.”

Agencies interested in training with the Community Policing Initiative are invited to contact ADI at

ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. Using innovative strategies for food systems, clean energy, small businesses, and equity and inclusion, ANCA delivers targeted interventions that create and sustain wealth and value in local communities. 

The Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI), a program of ANCA, exists at the intersection of environmental and transformational justice, working to make the Adirondacks a more welcoming and inclusive place for both residents and visitors while ensuring a vital and sustainable Adirondack Park for future generations. 

Photo: RENZ Consulting instructor Dr. Heather Pfeifer speaks about trauma in policing during a Community Policing Initiative training with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Rangers on May 1, 2023 in Ray Brook, N.Y.