TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WETM) – A report released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services says the Troy Police Department had 103 “total use of force incidents” from July 11, 2019 to October 31, 2020. They say that their numbers are so high because, unlike in many other police departments in the state, Troy police report unholstering a weapon as a use of force incident.
According to the report, statewide, only five departments had more total use of force incidents than Troy police. They were the New York City Police (1,916), New York State Police (289), Suffolk County Police (207), Rochester Police (142), and Syracuse Police (113).
Meanwhile, the city of Albany clocked in at 36 reported incidents, and the Albany County Sheriff’s office had 60. Schenectady’s city police department had 90 reported incidents, and the county sheriff had another 53. There were 10 reported incidents in the city of Saratoga Springs, with another 34 reported for the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office had 12 reported incidents.
Troy Police Captain Steven M. Barker says there is a greater context to consider:
We believe the importance and efficacy of this report is largely based on comparing single-department year-to-year data. Comparing different departments can be unclear at times due to the variety in reporting procedures.
Specifically, several years ago, the Troy Police Department administration recognized the importance of reporting granular use-of-force data. For that reason our members have been directed to report nearly any activity that we believe can be considered as “use-of-force.” Unlike many other NYS police departments, we have directed our members to report simply unholstering a weapon during the course of an incident whether it is used or not. We believe documenting these responses by our officers, over time, portrays a clearer picture of our behaviors and performance. It also eliminates any subjectivity by the officer in whether a report should be documented. In some departments the force is reported only when that weapon is used, leading to a potential disparity in comparing departments on a statewide report.
Troy’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative conducted an independent review of use of force data provided by the department. “Use of force was applied in less than ½ a percent (0.4%) of all calls responded in 2019. During that same period, the total number of incidents where use of force was utilized was 217,” they said. “In 2020, the total number of incidents where Use of Force was utilized was 142. This equates to less than ½ a percent (.4%) of all calls responded to during that time period.”
Barker said the department will continue to analyze the report in the coming days.
In New York, 48% of types of use of force involved an impact weapon or electronic control weapon. Firearms were used 36% of the time and chemical agents were used in 16% of reported incidents. Under 1% of all incidents in the state reportedly involved a chokehold or similar restraint, serious bodily injury, or death.
Sixty-three percent of all New York use of force incidents reported involved only one officer, while 20% of incidents involved two. Fifty-nine percent of incidents involved one officer and one subject, and 17% involved two officers and one subject.
Of all 7,011 subjects arrested in these reported use of force incidents in the state, 49% were Black, and 46% were white. Eighty-six percent were men, and 20% were between the ages of 25 and 29. Demographics among the officers involved in the use of force incidents show 76% were white, 91% were male, and 53% were between the ages of 25-34.
Take a look at the “Use of Force Incidents Report” below: