Police reform: Albany Police Department

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The final draft of recommendations from Albany’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative is more than one hundred pages long. It’s been presented to the city’s Common Council and will need to be approved before April 1.

Dannielle Hille, a co-chair for the collaborative acknowledged that some of the recommendations will take longer to implement as they may require studies, conflict with union contracts, require budgetary considerations, or even adjustments to state law. “The report is rather lengthy. There’s a lot of ideas, they range from simple corrections to a completely different type of department,” said Hille. “Some of the suggestions will require a lot more work before they could be implemented or even piloted,” she added. 

She said some of the biggest takeaways are consistency and proper data collection. “Bad data provides bad information. In order to use the data to track trends, if it appears they’re targeting a certain race or a certain area, those things require good data,” said Hille.

Albany Police Chief, Eric Hawkins, agrees but said that would require fiscal and staffing investments in their IT department. “Most of the data is there, but with the systems that we have it’s very difficult to extract the data in a meaningful and understandable way. So that’s where most of the opportunities for improvement lie is with enhancing and making our IT extraction techniques more robust,” said Chief Hawkins.

The Chief also said he’s on board with recommendations that pertain to deployment of gas during civil unrest and responding to mental health crises. “I think this reform collaborative document will make this police department better, will make this city better and it’s just a matter of working our way through it to see what’s practical in order to implement,” said Chief Hawkins. 

Alice Green with the Center for Law and Justice said she’s not pleased with the recommendations and is currently working on a detailed response. The Community Police Review Board also said they would have a response by Friday.

The public safety committee will meet on March 8th to discuss the recommendations and there will be an opportunity for public comment. 

The city hosted several meetings to discuss how the police force should draft their policies. Their final meeting was on January 20.

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