Albany PD holds public forum ahead of proposed drones

Local

The Albany Police Department is adding two new tools to its arsenal. The department held a public information session for the public announcing its plans to purchase drones.

“This will allow our officers to operate more safer. This will benefit the community and allowing officers to be much more efficient in the way we’re responding,” said Albany Police Department Chief Eric Hawkins.

The drones are being purchased from a grant carry a price tag of $52,000. They’ll assist officers in finding missing persons, tactical response and critical infrastructure issues.

But while the information session laid out the components of the evolving drone program, it’s also meant to undercut distrust within the community, particularly with questions of surveillance. 

“People do not believe the police department, but they’ll believe their elected officials,” said Albany resident Mae Tune.

Tune said there’s issues of distrust with police in Albany’s Black and low-income communities. She also said these communities need to be involved in these types of forums.

A presentation’s already been given to Albany Community Police Advisory Committee. The group consists of residents selected to the committee by Ward leaders, but residents said elected officials should be brought to the table as well.

Though the program is in the infant stages and the drones have not been purchased, they’re planned to be rolled out in the next eight months. The department is planning to continue dialogue with the community once the drones are deployed.

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