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Albany Mom Petitions HUD: Ban Police Training at Public Housing

An Albany resident has started a petition to ask the federal Housing and Urban Development Department to ban police training in public housing.  

The power of social networking proved to be a force to reckon with after citizens in Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood posted photographs of swat teams, fake bloodstains and shell casings on Facebook, after an Albany Police Department training exercise.

The Albany NAACP expressed concern because the incident occurred just a few months out from the Newtown shooting, in the neighborhood of the Arbor Hill Elementary School.

Lauren Manning of Albany's Ida Yarbrough Homes is turning concern into action – she’s making an appeal for public support on Change.org, the world's largest online petition platform – she tells WAMC  she'll never forget the morning of March 21st.

Authorities claim residents wre notified of the training in advance. Albany police spokesperson Steve Smith deferred comment to the housing authority. Steve Long is the executive director of the Albany Housing Authority - he believes there is some good that comes from utilizing obsolete public housing for police training, but only under strict guidelines - and he's inclined to accept the police version when it comes to resident notifications last month at Ida Yarbrough.

Amanda Kloer is a campaign director with Change.org - Kloer says when Lauren Manning was looking to create an online solution she found Albany is not the first case where police entered a public housing project and conducted a tactical training exercise.

By targeting HUD with her petition, Lauren Manning is hoping to attract the attention of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to push for national policy change to make simulated warfare in residential neighborhoods illegal.

-> Here's a link to Lauren Manning's petition.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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