Albany is looking for public input about the search for its next permanent police chief

Albany police chief Brendan Cox exit press conference

The December 2016 announcement that former Brendan Cox was leaving the department.

The city of Albany has a series of public meetings lined up over the next week to get public input about the search for a new permanent police chief. Press release blurbage:

The City of Albany, along with a national search firm, Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc., will host a series of community forums to provide Albany residents with an opportunity to share their thoughts on the personal characteristics and professional experience that are most important for the individual leading the Albany Police Department.

Here are the meetings:
+ April 15: Capital South Campus Center (20 Warren Street) - 3 pm
+ April 16: Albany Public Library Washington Ave Branch - 5:30 pm
+ April 17: Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center (340 White Hall Road) - 2 pm

Albany has been without a permanent police chief since Brendan Cox left the department at the beginning of 2017 to take a job with a national organization that works on diverting people with addiction and mental health issues from the criminal justice system. The department's deputy chief -- Robert Sears -- has been serving as acting chief since then.

Why the long delay in a picking a permanent chief? Here's what mayor Kathy Sheehan said last September ahead of the mayoral election:

To engage in a search in the midst of the political environment that was created by this campaign I thought would not do service to our residents, to our current chief, and to an overall process of engagement that I want to see happen as we decide who our next chief is.
We have an incredibly competent acting chief who is doing an outstanding job. I am committed to a national search. Yet I felt very strongly that given the tone and tenor that was being set by my opponent in this campaign that it was just not an environment to do that because everything was becoming politicized. And that's just the honest, truthful answer for that.

There's a good argument to be made that police chief is the city's second most important leadership position after the mayor. The chief heads up a department of more than 400 employees (more than 300 of them officers) that's constantly interacting with the public, often in critical situations when people are at their most vulnerable. The two most recent chiefs -- Cox and Steven Krokoff -- have worked to align the department toward community policing, and the city has taken the task of training new officers in house in an attempt to focus on those principles. And this past November the APD started the rollout of officer body cameras.

The lead up to that body camera program included a series of public meetings with strong turnout and people asking thoughtful questions. So we're looking forward to hearing what people have to say during this upcoming round of forums.

Earlier: What people are looking for in the next Albany police chief

Comments

Why does Albany have to search for a Police Chief? Promote from within! As stupid as finding a School Superintendent from wherever.

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