Albany Mayor, Police Chief asking for public input on reforms

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Monopolgy’s Go To Jail spot. (Suzy Hazelwood / Pexels

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mayor of Albany Kathy Sheehan held a press conference with Police Chief Eric Hawkins and the Albany Common Council, asking residents to talk about the reforms they’d like to see.

Councilman Kelly Kimbrough, denounced the altercation between police and a black couple two days ago. He says that the officer was “tone-deaf” in today’s climate.

“What happened to the First Amendment?” asked Councilman Derrick Johnson. “How does a verbal altercation turn into someone getting tasered?”

A growing group of residents coming out to listen to reform changes proposed by Common Council later said what they were hearing is fluff. They want solutions.

The Common Council says it will reach out to people to join the conversation, including

  • Asking that the Albany police review board to have subpoena power.
  • Calling on police department to have a scholarship program for people to join the force.
  • Requiring every officer should have body camera on.
  • Repealing 50a—a section of New York State law that protects police records—”as an avenue” to get bad police out of the field

At the same time as the press conference, Sheehan and Hawkins released the following statement asking for community voices to lead change:

 Protesters in Albany and across the country are making their voices heard. Racism, police brutality, and inequity continue to cause death, harm, pain, and trauma among our Black communities. We hear you. As we reaffirm our commitment to community engagement and change, we recognize that the voices of our residents closest to the pain must be heard, valued, and respected.

Mayor Sheehan and Police Chief Hawkins want to listen. Starting on Monday, June 8, we will be hosting weekly conversations to Create Change Together. Albany residents will be able to schedule time with the Mayor and Chief Hawkins either in person or through the ZOOM platform.

The demonstrations we are seeing in Albany and in virtually every city in this country are having an impact, and we believe that beyond protesting, real change is necessary, and the community must have a voice in that change.

To add your voice to the conversation, please send an email with your contact information to change@albanyny.gov. We look forward to joining you as we lead authentic and sustainable change in Albany.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins

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