Items tagged with 'policing'

Albany has a new police chief, here's a quick scan of his responses to questions about how he'll do the job

Albany police chief Eric Hawkins Common Council 2018-08-21

The city of Albany has a new police chief. Tuesday night the Common Council approved Kathy Sheehan's appointment of Eric Hawkins to the role. (Update: He'll officially start the job September 5.)

Hawkins has been the police chief in Southfield, Michigan for the past six years. And the mayor has said he was selected in large part because of his experience with and focus on community policing.

Ahead of the Common Council appointment vote Tuesday, the council asked Hawkins a bunch of questions and his thoughts and approaches to policing.

Here's a quick scan of some of those questions, along with the answers from the new chief...

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State Attorney General's office: Troy police review of fatal shooting was "deficient and incomplete"

NYS OAG Troy police Thevenin shooting model

An image of a 3D model of the incident prepared for OAG by a forensic analysis company called Precision Simulations, Inc. The car on the left is that of Sgt. French, Thevenin's car is in the middle, and the car on the right is that of TPD captain Matthew Montanino. The cone shapes stretching between French's car and Thevenin's are the estimated paths of the shots fired by French.

The state Attorney General's office released its report Tuesday on the fatal shooting of Edson Thevenin by Troy police in April 2016 -- and it is highly critical of the Troy Police Department.

Thevenin was shot by Troy police sergent Randall French after Thevenin fled a DWI stop and struck a divider on the entrace to the Collar City Bridge. In the version of events publicized by the TPD in the days after the shooting, French had fired after Thevenin's car pinned him against his own patrol car and he shot in self defense.

But the OAG report pointedly argues that Troy police mishandled the investigation of the incident. A clip:

The TPD was the police agency with exclusive control over the investigation for an initial critical period after the shooting. Almost immediately, and without having conducted any real investigation, the TPD publicly adopted the position that Sgt. French was pinned when he began shooting and that the shooting was therefore justified. The TPD did so notwithstanding its possession of evidence contradicting that version of events, including photographs it took of Mr. Thevenin's windshield showing trajectory rods inserted in each of the eight bullet holes. Those photographs make clear that some of the bullets were fired from different points across the front of Mr. Thevenin's car (i.e., evidence inconsistent with a pinned, immobile shooter.)

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The Albany Police Department is starting up its officer body camera program

Albany police body camera Axon closeup

One of the officer-worn body cameras that Albany police will be using.


A handful of Albany police will be routinely wearing body cameras starting this Monday, the police department formally announced Friday. APD will eventually be rolling out cameras to more than 250 officers in the months ahead.

The debut of the cameras as part of officers' regular gear is the culmination of process the department's been working on since 2015.

The cameras hold the promise of potentially adding increased clarity and accountability to interactions between police and members of public -- but they're not without limitations.

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Albany police planning to start using body cameras this summer

APD body camera 2017-05-23 crowd watching video

The crowd watching sample video at Tuesday's meeting.

The Albany Police Department has a plan to start deploying body cameras to all its officers this July.

The details of the rollout of the cameras -- and how they'll be used -- were the main topic of a presentation by acting police chief Bob Sears at an Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee forum at the Albany Public Library Washington Branch Tuesday evening. Sears also took a bunch of questions from the crowd in discussing the department's policy for the tech.

Here are a few more bits about the much-anticipated program...

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Albany police forum to talk about officer body cameras

Albany police body camera forum 2016-02-23

From one of the public events last year.

There's a public forum Tuesday, May 23 to talk about the Albany Police Department's work toward using officer body cameras. The meeting -- organized by the Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee (ACPAC) -- is at the Albany Public Library's Washington Ave Branch at 6 pm.

The APD has been looking at whether/how to use body cameras for more than a year now. And last summer it released a draft policy last summer. And this past fall it began a pilot test of body cameras from four different vendors. The city has a federal grant to help cover the cost of an eventual program, which is expected to be expensive.

Police body cameras are an important topic. Advocates of the tech have touted the cameras as a tool for increasing accountability of police and helping to provide more certainty about what happens during interactions between officers and the public. But use of the cameras also prompts questions about privacy, perspective, and who gets to interpret the resulting images.

ACPAC has two public events about the issue last year -- both were well attended. And not only did people show up, they were ready with insightful, sometimes tough, questions for the department. So this is another opportunity to offer feedback.

State troopers in Albany

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What people are looking for in the next Albany police chief

Albany police chief Brendan Cox exit press conference

Monday's press conference at City Hall.

The city of Albany officially announced Monday morning that police chief Brendan Cox will be leaving in January to take a job with a national organization focused on diverting low-level offenders suffering from drug addiction or mental illness from jail. (The Albany Police Department was one of the first departments to participate in this program, called LEAD.)

Mayor Kathy Sheehan said current deputy chief Robert Sears will take over as interim chief, and the city will start a national search for Cox's replacement.

Here's what a handful of elected and community leaders in the city say they'll be looking for in the next chief...

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Albany moves toward police body cameras

Albany police body camera meeting 2016-06-14 Cox

APD chief Brendan Cox at the forum this week.

The Albany Police Department is moving toward testing body-worn cameras for its officers this summer.

That was one of the bits from an Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee forum this week that served as a progress report of sorts for the department's efforts to deploy the devices.

Here's a quick look at where things are at on the topic, along with a few takeaways from the meeting.

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Albany forum on police body cameras

apd body camera meeting Brendan CoxThe Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee is holding another public forum about the Albany Police Department's plans for using officer-worn body cameras. It's next Tuesday, June 14 at the Washington Ave Albany Public Library at 6 pm.

Event blurbage:

Following up on the very successful forum ACPAC held in February on this topic, ACPAC has invited the Albany Police Department to give a presentation on the progress they've made in developing Body-Worn Camera Program policies and procedures since the last forum. Following the presentation, ACPAC will invite attendees to provide further public comment on the developing program.

Here's a copy of the APD's draft policy of body cameras.

As alluded to in that clip, there was a similar forum this past February at which police leadership talked about some of the issues and complications related to body cameras, and members of the public had a chance to express their thoughts. It was an interesting event.

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Thinking about police body cameras in Albany

Brendan Cox talking to crowd

Albany police chief Brendan Cox addressing the crowd at the start of the forum.

The Albany Police Department is planning to pilot test officer body cameras this summer, with an eye toward eventually expanding the program to the whole department. And the APD is facing a range of questions as it works out the details: When should the cameras be on? What should they capture? Who should get to see the video?

Those were some of the questions discussed at a public meeting to gather input about the topic this past Tuesday at the Albany Public Library main branch. As Albany police chief Brendan Cox told the media beforehand:

"[Body cameras] can seem very simplistic until you start getting into the nitty gritty and recognize that you're dealing with human beings, you're dealing many times with human beings in crisis, but then you're also dealing with human beings in just regular interactions. So you want to try to get it right. Because you don't want to set up false expectations, you don't want to hurt anybody, you don't want to cause any more trauma. So you really want to try to do your best to set up policies, to set up procedures, and to set up trainings."

The hope is, of course, that officer body cameras will provide more and better information about what happens between the police and the public -- from stuff like complaints about rudeness, all the way up to situations in which a person dies during an interaction with police, such as in the death of Dontay Ivy.

Members of the public at the meeting had a lot of questions about the program. (It sounds like both the police and the public are still sorting through what they think about the idea.) But there were also a lot of suggestions.

Here are four thoughts about the topic...

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Scenes from the Dontay Ivy rally, and ideas for change

protesters in Henry Johnson Boulevard

A protest shut down Henry Johnson Blvd for a little more than 10 minutes.

A crowd of approximately 200+ people gathered outside Albany police headquarters early Friday evening to protest the recent decision by an Albany County grand jury to not hand up indictments of the officers involved in the death of Dontay Ivy this past April in Arbor Hill.

The group Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration organized the rally, and the protesters issued a list of demands at the front doors of APD HQ:

+ That three officers involved in the incident in which Ivy died be fired.
+ That Albany County DA David Soares resign.
+ That the Albany police disarm, and stop using tasers.
+ And that Andrew Cuomo issue a response to the situation.

After the announcement of the demands, organizers called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, which they described as systematically unjust.

"I feel like my family has not gotten justice," said Ivy's aunt, Celinda Okwuosa, to the crowd. She spoke of her nephew's life, including his struggles with mental illness. And she called for a change in police tactics, including an effort on their part to learn how to better relate to the different communities they serve.

After a few speeches, a group of protesters headed out to Henry Johnson Boulevard and shut down the street by lying down for 13 minutes, representing the length of time between when Ivy was first stopped by police and when he died. The protest then marched down Second Street to the spot where Ivy died.

Here are a few scenes from the protest, along with comments from a handful of people there about ideas for change that could help avoid another incident like the death of Dontay Ivy.

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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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