Albany Community Police Review Board discusses police reform

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS 10) — Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order mandating local police departments to create reform plans with community input in order to receive state funding. Reform plans are already being discussed in Albany.

The Albany Community Police Review Board was founded back in the year 2000.

“Our focus always is to be a bridge for the interactions between, the community and the police, and make sure that the voices of the community members that are effected the most, are heard, explained Ivy Morris, Chair of the Albany Community Police Review Board.

On Thursday, the review board held a virtual zoom meeting to find out what the community was interested in when it comes to police reform. One of the topics discussed was the use of tear gas. Morris said neighbors in the south end are working on a petition so that it’s no longer used.

“They’d like not to have to fear the use of tear gas, especially during the pandemic. We have heard somethings where breathing is hard, it’s difficult. We need to take precautions. They felt like this was not the time for tear gas, and they would like to make sure that it doesn’t ever happen again.”

During the meeting, defunding the police was also brought up—- meaning that police funds would be reallocated to other community programs such as mental health services.

She said members of the community also talked about having officers live in the areas that they patrol, and that community members would like to see more transparency from the Albany Police Department— especially when it comes to policy, procedures, and disciplinary information. They are in favor of repealing Law 50-A.

“The recommendation is that the police department post online, any information about disciplinary actions taken against individual officers. That would be subject to disclosure under the freedom of information law,” explained Morris.

These reform recommendations, as well as several others, have already been sent to the city’s common council public safety committee.

NEWS10 ABC caught up with Second Ward Councilman Derek Johnson to hear his thoughts on whether or not he believes police departments should be more transparent.

“I think there should be transparency in local government, period,” said Johnson. “Because the police serve the people, the government is elected by the people, and the people should know what’s going on.”

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