ALBANY, N.Y. - The petition is now almost 8,000 signatures strong, the woman behind it says she is one of the residents directly affected by the Albany police department's March 21st tactical training, which she says was anything but an exercise.
"We absolutely thought that there was a serious crisis going on 20 feet from my house," says Lauren Manning. "My four year old child was terrorized, she was literally clinging to the babysitter."
Albany police say the training consisted of hostage rescue scenarios involving simulated ammunition and injuries.
Manning points out evidence of the training still around the apartment building across from her own, including shell casings on the ground, fake blood on the steps and boarded up windows and punched in doors.
The Albany Housing Authority says it was aware of the training and police say they went door to door to notify residents the night before.
However, Manning says there was no proper notification and other neighbors agree.
"This has happened in other housing authorities in other parts of the country, there needs to be a national policy that says any agency that is not aligned with the HUD mission cannot use HUD resources," she says.
"They got exactly what they intended on doing at the demise of my community," adds Thurston Gross.
Manning launced a petition on change.org to ban tactical police training in public housing on a national level.
"Within days it had 600 to 700 signatures, today it has almost 8,000 and it hasn't been more than a week," she says.
In a statement, Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff says, "I certainly did not mean to offend the very people that we are training to protect. In retrospect, it was insensitive to conduct this type of training in the vicinity of occupied residences."
"There is no assurance for me that my daughter won't experience that again, and even if my daughter doesn't, no child ever should," says Manning.
Albany police will not hold training exercises at Ida Yarbrough anymore, but cannot rule out traning at other housing complexes.
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