Activist group meets virtually with Albany leaders about post-pandemic policing

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Block at a Time is a group in Albany that has had a focus on community policing. They often hold neighborhood meetings to give people access to the leaders in the city. Wednesday night, COVID-19 brought their meeting with Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins, District Attorney David Soares, and Sheriff Craig Apple to Facebook live.

The meeting was led by Dannielle Hille, co-founder and President of A Block at a Time, and focused on what policing and criminal justice will look like in light of COVID-19.

D.A. Soares talked about COVID-19’s impact on the legal system. Soares previously told News10 that one of his biggest concerns is getting people to participate on a jury, at a time when many are concerned about health risks. He and other D.A.’s are working on plans to make it a safe endeavor.

Sheriff Apple was asked about his agency’s stance on enforcing the Governor’s Executive Order to wear a mask. His message has persisted that his office is not particularly interested in arresting people for not complying, but he says private businesses can refuse entry for someone without a mask, similar to the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy held by many stores and restaurants. Apple has been focused on educating people about why it’s important they make that decision to wear a mask.

Chief Hawkins acknowledged that while there have been recent spikes in shootings and domestic violence, other crimes, like robberies, have gone down. Hawkins says overall, crime is down in the City of Albany.

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