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Mayors of Albany, Schenectady and Troy meet to discuss gun violence prevention

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.
Dave Lucas
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

The mayors of Albany, Schenectady and Troy discussed gun violence prevention Monday at The Blake Annex in downtown Albany.

The mayors met behind closed doors for an hour and a half prior to appearing before the media.

Monday afternoon's discussion was the 8th in a series focusing on gun violence held across New York. The three Democratic mayors heard from community members and activists. They compared notes as they strategized to create plans to prevent and reduce gun violence. Troy Mayor Patrick Madden:

“Schenectady, Albany and Troy speak regularly about a whole host of issues including violence and gun violence," said Madden. "We work closely with our community members. I'm not sure that anything new was unearthed in those conversations today, but we shared those, those understandings with the state, which is critically important because state brings important resources to bear.”

Executive Deputy Commissioner at the Division of Criminal Justice Services Joe Popcun says New York state recently earmarked $1.5 million to expand its SNUG Street Outreach Program to Niagara Falls, Schenectady and Utica.

“Dozens of new street outreach workers employed by SNUG, who is represented here today, were the first to be trained at the state's preparedness training center in Oriskany, allowing them to practice these skills and conflict resolution and dispute resolution in a real world environment,” said Popcun.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says individuals who make poor choices in one community, often influence the activities in another nearby community, and they need attention.

“It’s this collaborative effort of working together, creating educational opportunities, creating a sense of equality within the communities, that give people other opportunities as opposed to choices they make in life that just put them down the wrong path,” said McCarthy.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the city of Albany is seeing a significant reduction in gun violence. She adds the youths that live in neighborhoods typically plagued by gun violence "are not inherently violent."

“They are not born criminals," Sheehan said. "They are incredible, amazing, wonderful children who have amazing futures ahead for them if we adults get our act together and ensure that they have the same opportunities as their peers who are living in wealthier, more suburbanized affluent areas of this region.”

Popcun noted the focus of the mayors’ conversation was people who became disconnected from school and work during the pandemic.

“Each of the times we're talking about gun violence we're trying to understand the interventions, the prevention's that are going to be necessary within any community to make sure that people are pursuing the best outcomes," said Popcun.

The state budget passed in April includes $24.9 million for SNUG and community-based gun violence initiatives, tripling the state’s previous investment.

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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