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Albany Mayor Announces Police Reforms

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan speaking in front of City Hall.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has announced police reforms including the banning of choke holds and knee-on-neck holds by city officers. 

The reforms also include mandating that an officer intervene if another officer is using excessive force or verbally escalating a situation. Sheehan’s announcement came after the entire Albany Common Council called on her to ban the holds.

The mayor says the reforms, which she called “initial,” came via conversations with the community and the city’s police chief.

“Input from our residents into these efforts is critical to building trust and accountability of policing in our city," Sheehan said in a statement Monday. "I encourage all residents to share their thoughts and ideas about reforms you would like to see with my office or with a member of the Albany Common Council." 

Sheehan will also require all members of the force to be taught about the history of racism in the U.S.

The head of the Albany Police Officers Union says rank and file officers were not approached about the order. Officer Gregory McGee, the union’s president, says Albany police do not use such holds and are not trained on them.

"All of the things that she's [Sheehan] putting out, we already do and we already have those policies in our SOP in the city of Albany," McGee said. "So when you see an executive order come out like that, I feel as though it does more harm than good because you're creating a divisiveness between us and the community." 

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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