Community reacts to Troy’s police reform proposal to hire 6 officers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a rise in gun violence, the Troy City Finance Committee recently passed a proposal (5-2) to hire six new police officers by 2022. Officials say this will bring more transparency between the police department and the community. However, local advocates say this push won’t help solve that.

City officials say the six new members will be designated as community police officers. Currently, there are three community officers for the entire Collar City but with an additional six, two officers can be dedicated to patrol on foot in each zone. Troy Police Chief Brian owns says he wants to increase their workforce.

“This will enable the department to be able to interact with the public and neighborhoods in a more meaningful and positive way. we’re grateful to our citizens, the council and the city administration for their continuing support.”

Troy Police Chief Brian Owens

“I was baffled if not astounded by the proposal by the Mayor to expand the Troy Police Department with the current political context we find ourselves in,” says local activist Colin Donnaruma.

“We as a community have to find other ways for them to hear us,” says Starletta Smith, Executive Director of the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region. Over 50 people on a virtual meeting Sunday night are disagreeing with the proposal. Some council and community members say they’re hesitant using that funding to make the force larger.

Council members say budgeting for this expansion was not an issue, the council was able to get restored state aid.

“You cannot fix a problem unless you fix everything causing the issue,” says Community Youth Activist Diamond Owens. Some say the funding could be used toward other investments that would help build transparency while reducing gun violence.

“We need solution based responses to the things that we’re seeing…that means more programs to divert our young people from criminal behavior, more programs that are going to attack poverty,” says Jerry Ford, member of the Troy Coalition of Black Leaders.

The council could vote on the proposal during their next council meeting: May 6th, 2021.

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