Center for Law & Justice says police department and DA’s office lack trust of African Americans, offers recommendations to local leaders

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- All new policies carried out by the Albany Police Department should include a racial impact statement, according to the Center for Law and Justice. In a newly released report, the center also outlines other specific recommendations that should be taken by the City of Albany leadership to further encourage policing policies that are more equitable for minorities.

The center says action is needed on the part of local leaders to eradicate structural racism. They point to the lack of trust in the Albany Police Department and Albany County District Attorney’s Office from African American residents in a 2019 community policing survey and the absence of any action on the part of local leaders as the harbinger for their recommendations.

“Several controversial incidents in 2018 and 2019 have resulted in disbelief among citizens that these two entities (Albany Police Department and District Attorney’s Office) are trustworthy, treat community members with respect, act in a fair manner, and accept community input regarding police and prosecution policies and practices,” it says in the report.

The center says local leaders ignored the findings of the 2019 report. Their latest report takes an in-depth look at past actions taken by local leaders. The center says these actions have done little to instill police confidence among the city’s African American population.

More African Americans were arrested than other races during 2018 in Albany County based on reporting from the Division of Criminal Justice Services. It’s the center’s argument that police policies need to be assessed to prevent a disproportional amount of those arrests of African Americans, by admitting structural racism exists, which they want all local leaders to do.

Recommendations to local leaders

  • Acknowledge the existence of structural racism.
  • Declare structural racism a public health crisis in the city of Albany.
  • Release the Albany Police Department’s racial profiling/use-of-force policies to the public, include racial impact statements on all new/revised departmental policies, and provide annual data reports to the public.
  • Appropriately resource and strengthen the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, and produce annual LEAD reports to the public.
  • Send a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislators urging repeal of Civil Service Law 50-A.
  • Co-sponsor and personally participate in Albany’s “Recommitment to Community Policing” Symposium to be conducted by the Center for Law and Justice in the fall of 2020.
  • Have state officials investigate all police shootings.
  • Provide Civil Rights History curriculum for police department-wide training.

The center says they plan to send a letter to local leaders with these recommendations in the coming weeks.

Results of the 2019 Albany Community Policing Survey




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