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City of Hudson receives U.S. DOJ community policing grant

Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson
Dave Lucas
Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson

The city of Hudson has been awarded federal funding to roll out policies, protocols and training intended to protect children in instances of parental arrest.

The arrest of a parent, caregiver, or family member can be psychologically harmful and may lead to behavioral and emotional challenges.

Hudson, a city of nearly 6,000, is receiving a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, known as COPS, through its Community Policing Development Program to assist intervention efforts by law enforcement and community-based organizations

Joan Hunt is Executive Director of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood.

"One in 28 kids in America have a parent in prison or jail," said Hunt. "And it's probably one of the most understudied and invisible populations within our country, I would argue, just in terms of lack of available data, lack of awareness, lack of, you know, support for this population. So we're thrilled that the city of Hudson was awarded this grant to bring more awareness and support to children of arrested parents. We do know that most children that were present at the time of an arrest did witness their parents being handcuffed and, you know, right in front of them. 27% reported weapons drawn in front of their children. And then, you know, at times there's physical struggles, use of pepper spray. So these are very traumatic events for children."

Democratic Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson:

"We want to make sure that, you know, our children experience the least amount of trauma possible, you know, in situations where a parent is arrested, you know, it's a confusing time for children," said Johnson. "It's a confusing time for families, there's always you know, the aftermath one, you know, them getting back to school, or them having the process of the parent not being home or different things like that. And you know, this gives us a chance to conduct, officers a chance to conduct arrests in ways that are you know, less trauma filled for children and also offering those supports for you know, what happens after and that's, that's like, you know, school counselors, if they're returning to school, if it's something that's happening in the morning, or any type of services that need to be used, utilized to get the best results for our young people."

Hunt says the funding will also support the establishment of Hudson as a hub for child-sensitive arrest resources and training for other regional small and mid-sized law enforcement agencies interested in implementing such policies.

"All officers in the Hudson Police Department will be trained in child sensitive arrests," said Hunt. "And we will also be developing a system to collect data so that we're aware on a local level, how many children are impacted, and then we're hoping to become a hub, a training hub for other community law enforcement to be able to come in and get trained within our the training modules that we're creating here.”

Johnson says the Hudson Police Department will now collaborate with Greater Hudson, the Osborne Association, former law enforcement leadership and other experts experienced in implementing child-sensitive arrest policies.

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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