ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Community organization A Block at a Time hosted a meeting at a church on Quail St. Thursday night, where community members raised concerns and possible solutions to recent violence involving youth Albany.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins listened and responded to their ideas and concerns.
“In the police department, we do all these things, we have all the strategies in place,” Chief Hawkins told News10, “but when you’re dealing with real people and real issues, it’s important that we hear from those that are impacted.”
Teddi James is a local small business owner on Quail Street. He said in the meeting that maybe people are pointing fingers the wrong way, and possibly the key to ending the violence starts from inside the community.
“My community actually kept me at bay,” James said, “that’s why I am not in prison and now I’m a pillar in my community.”
Chief Hawkins sees someone like Teddi James as an avenue for inspiring youth in Albany.
“One thing that came out of this meeting is that there’s an opportunity to uplift those people,” Chief Hawkins said about James, “so that they, in turn, will have more leverage and a bigger platform to influence others.”
Other types of solutions community members raised at the meeting included better varieties of programs to keep youth off the streets.
In the meantime, the police department continues to investigate incidents of violence, including the shoot out where a sleeping 3-year-old was struck by a bullet. Chief Hawkins is optimistic about that investigation.
“My detectives are telling me that they’re making a lot of progress, and there’s some identification that has been made,” Chief Hawkins told News10, “and now it’s just a matter of compiling enough evidence to present that will allow us to prosecute those individuals.”