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Appointed Police Chief's Confirmation Likely

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Newly appointed Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox appears to have the Common Council’s support ahead of a confirmation vote expected next month. 

Last week, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan appointed the 21-year veteran the new Chief of Police. Cox takes over from the retired Steven Krokoff. As second-in-command under Krokoff he was been part of the team that transformed the APD and pursued stronger relations via community policing. He served as the acting chief for the past several months.   "I grew up in the city, I owned my first house here in the city of Albany," said Cox.

The Albany Common Council must approve the mayor's selection. Cox is well-known to the community but faces a little bump in the road: he doesn't live within city limits, one of the requirements to be chief.  There's a request in for a limited exemption that would allow his family to continue to live in Colonie until his eldest son, a high school junior, graduates. Council Member Leah Golby represents the city's 10th ward:  "The police chief appointment has been referred to the Public Safety Committee. We will be holding a Public Safety Committee meeting on July 7th in the Common Council chambers, to discuss the mayor's appointment of Brendan Cox to the position of police chief, and I'm looking forward to that meeting. The public is welcome and the police chief will be there to talk about his vision and answer our questions."

The confirmation requires a majority of all members or eight votes.  WAMC reached out to the panel: those who responded say they're supporting Cox.  In emails, 6th ward Council Member Richard Conti said Cox is "well suited to move the department forward in a positive direction that will continue to make the APD a model of progressive policing and law enforcement."

Jack Flynn, who represents the 8th ward, wrote "Chief Cox's current residence is actually closer to HQs than the previous four chiefs. He has the experience, education, city of Albany mentality to be our next chief. He has responded to citizen concerns and doesn't hide behind the issues that the city faces."

Fourth Ward Councilman Kelly Kimbrough, himself a former police officer, calls Cox's ascension in the ranks "a logical progression."  "As for the waiver, he's been here long enough, been committed to the city long enough that I think we ought to give him that opportunity. He's got a family issue; you can't fault anyone for wanting the best for theri kids, which is why he's requesting the waiver. I say we give him the waiver and then once we get down the line, where he no longer needs it, we require him to move into the city."

First ward councilwoman Dorcey Applyrs and Fifth ward representative Mark Robinson back Cox. Applyrs said  "Any time there has been an issue in my ward or in the community and I have called on him, he has been responsive and his staff have been responsive, so I will be supporting Chief Cox, and I really feel that the mayor picked the right person for the job." Robinson added  "I think it was a good choice for our mayor to say hey,  Mister Cox, you know you'll make a great fit, because you're already on the ground runnin' and you already have a pulse on the community. So I will be supportin' that."

The full Council can vote on the confirmation at either the July 20 or August 3 meeting.  Under existing law, should the council fail to confirm Cox within 45 days of the mayor's nomination, the appointment is considered automatically confirmed.

And in Cox's current hometown of Colonie, Jonathan Teale was sworn in as new police chief Thursday night, replacing retiring 42-year veteran Chief Steven Heider, whose last day on the force is Friday.

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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