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Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins confirms he will not leave for Ann Arbor post

Albany Looks To Citizens For Input On Picking New Police Chief

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The city of Albany will be taking community input as it looks to hire a new police chief.

The search began in December 2016 when Brendan Cox announced he would resign as police chief to take a position with a national law enforcement guidance organization.

Chief less than two years, Cox continued the goals begun by his predecessor Steve Krokoff: an improvement in the police-community dynamic. Today, Mayor Kathy Sheehan says "community conversations," card-carrying officers and police-sponsored neighborhood barbecues are the norm.  "This is a police department that has undergone tremendous amount of change over the last several years. That change has been community-driven and it has been positive change."

When Cox left, Mayor Sheehan hired Public Sector Search & Consulting, Inc. to conduct a national search for a replacement using as a template a description of the city and of what Albany is looking for in a police chief.   "As we continue that process and have a profile that we put together to go out and really talk about the city of Albany and what our core values are with respect to policing, we're also wanting to hear from the community about what they would like to see in the next chief."

In the interim Sheehan, called on Deputy Police Chief Robert Sears to lead the force, promising that selection of the next chief would be heavily influenced by key community members.  "I imagine I'm gonna hear from a lot of people who'll say that 'we want the current acting chief to be our next chief,' and that's just fine. You know this is a, again, an opportunity for us to really look at what we do well and what work remains to be done, but we certainly anticipate that there will be internal candidates and local candidates that will apply for this position and we would encourage them to do so."

Three community forums have been scheduled for mid-April so citizens can weigh in and offer their opinions.

•     Sunday, April 15 – 3:00pm-5:00pm at the Capital South Campus Center Community Rooms (20 Warren Street)

•     Monday, April 16 – 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Albany Public Library Washington Avenue Branch Community Room (161 Washington Avenue)

•     Tuesday, April 17 – 2:00pm-4:00pm at the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center (340 Whitehall Road)

Albany civil rights activist Dr. Alice Green is Executive Director of the Center for Law and Justice.    "I think the intent is to be able to reach as many people in the community as possible, so the different times and locations, I think, are probably designed to do that."

Green, who has been a tireless advocate for police-community relations, has already met with the search team.   "We were able to give some input into the process that's going forward now. And I think that community involvement is a kay part of this whole process. I'm happy to see that they're thinking about how to do that."

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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