ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — City of Albany residents will vote on a measure Tuesday that seeks to enhance the powers and budget of its Community Police Review Board. According to Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis, giving the CPRB more oversight is another step in community policing.
“This gives them the opportunity to hire someone, because they will have a budget, to do an investigation from their end, if they have any questions that they feel OPS [Office of Professional Standards] did not cover,” Ellis told NEWS10. “You have two sides to every story.”
If you ask Lt. Josiah Jones, President of the APD Supervisors Association, equity and transparency are already constructs of the police department. He thinks ballot proposal 7 is a ‘power grab’ by the common council, disguised as additional accountability.
“It will drive a wedge between us and the community and be a step backward in our effort to grow collaboratively together with the community,” said Jones.
Jones feels the proposal will demonize police and paint them as bad actors. He says gun violence is down because officers have put themselves in harm’s way to protect the city, and proposal 7 will keep them from being proactive.
“There are real concerns about our ability to do our jobs effectively,” he said.
For Ellis, addressing police misconduct should be looked at separately from gun violence.
“The perception of our city is people don’t feel safe. We support our police department 100%, and we’d like to make sure when gun violence happens, people understand we will not tolerate it in our city,” Ellis explained.
If the measure passes, funding for CPRB would be set at a minimum of 1 percent of APD’s operating budget. Based on fiscal year 2020, that would be a $290k increase from what the board has been allotted since it was established.
“When adopted in 2000, the local law establishing the current CPRB was a model for community oversight of the investigation, review and resolution of community complaints alleging abuse of police authority. The current basic construct still holds up but is in need of reforms to enhance the effectiveness of the CPRB in performing its oversight function and to maintain and build community confidence in the current oversight process.”Justification for amending Local Law J to enhance the CPRB’s authority