ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Members of Albany’s Community Police Review Board along with local leaders spoke Saturday morning to voters in stakeholders, calling the passage of Proposal Seven in the city a celebratory occasion.
“It feels good knowing we’re doing what the people wanted. Clearly, overwhelmingly, the people wanted this to happen,” said Paul Collins-Hackett, the secretary of the board.
Nearly 70% of voters approved the proposal to give CPRB more power for oversight and investigations.
“We’re trying to figure out what works for us, what doesn’t. It’s revolutionary because now we can do our own investigations. We’re not waiting for reports from OPS, we can subpoena, we can issue discipline,” Nairobi Vives, the board’s chair explained.
The independent board has existed in the city since 2000, established to improve communication between the community and the Albany Police Department. But throughout its history, the board has never had this many resources. With the passage of Proposal Seven, the CPRB is set to receive a minimum of 1% of the Albany Police Department’s operating budget.
Board members say the next steps are meeting with stakeholders and working together with the community. “To further the conversation and really put together a structure and processes and practices that work,” Vives said.
CPRB leaders said that work with the community and stakeholders includes having dialogues with the police, as they hope to improve the relationship between officers and the community. “We have relationships with officers, with OPS, who are supportive of these efforts. Not for nothing, OPS has been a part of the CPRB for a long time. Ideally, they understand the mission, they’re on the same page as us, which it seems like they are, and we’ll be able to move forward together,” Collins-Hackett said.
But the now-passed resolution has received pushback from the police union, which argues transparency and equity are already parts of the Albany Police Department. Prior to Election Day, the president of the APD Supervisors Association had this to say about the prospective law.
“It will drive a wedge between us and the community, and be a step backward in our effort to continue to grow collaboratively with the community,” Lt. Josiah Jones said.