Albany Police Department looking into claims of officers covering badges

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After claims were made that some Albany Police officers covered their badges during Thursday’s removal of protesters from their encampment in front of Albany’s South Station, Mayor Kathy Sheehan addressed the matter Wednesday.

“That it is a violation of our policy. We expect our policy to be followed, and that is not behavior that is acceptable to me or should be acceptable in our community,” said Sheehan.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Alice Green from the Center of Law and Justice spoke about badges being covered.

“Especially since there were cameras around, which means they didn’t care,” said Green.

Protesters at that press conference added that they were not surprised. “On the ground, none of us were surprised that police covered their badge numbers and covered their names and felt as though that was something that was acceptable and was going to be allowed and not called out,” said Jamaica Miles, a member of All of Us.

Albany Police released a statement, saying in part that the matter is being looked into and that the department will take any necessary corrective action. Tonight, Chief Eric Hawkins addressed members of the Albany Common Council during a virtual zoom meeting.

“The officers were not concealing their badge numbers for nefarious reasons. They were doing so to protect their families,” stated Hawkins. “There has been recent incidents in which people have obtained the names of officers, somehow used that information to obtain personal information about those officers and their families and where they live, and threats have been issued against the officers and their families.”

NEWS10 ABC asked local police training consultant, John Cooney, if it’s against the law in New York State for officers to cover their badges.

“No, it’s not law,” explained Cooney. “It’s departmental policy.” 

However, a new bill has been introduced in the New York Senate that if passed, would make it illegal for badges to be intentionally covered by police. 

“We wanna make sure that individuals are able to recognize who the officers are,” stated Sen. Jamaal Bailey. “And recognize what their badge numbers are in the event that they need to be identified who those officers are.”

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