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New York News

Troy's New Police Chief Seeks To Build Trust

From left to right: Deputy Chief Dan DeWolf, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, and Police Chief Brian Owens
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Office of Mayor Patrick Madden
From left to right: Assistant Chief Dan DeWolf, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, Police Chief Brian Owens

The City of Troy’s police department has a new team of leaders. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports city officials are looking forward to a “new era” for the Troy PD.

With 20 years on the police force, Brian Owens was sworn in by Mayor Patrick Madden as Troy’s new Chief of PoliceWednesday.

Owens replaces Chief John Tedesco, who retired in January after four decades on the force.

Owens, who is 43, began his full first day on the job Thursday. He shared with WAMC his message to the people of the Collar City.

“I would like for everyone in the city to just understand the men and women of the Troy Police Department are extremely capable and dedicated and our concern is for the safety and wellbeing of the public and we want to continue to improve on those things that make people feel safer in their homes, neighborhoods, and businesses.”

The Troy Police Department has been dogged recently by a string of controversies. Two detectives were indicted on charges after a probe into the city’s drug unit, accused of trying to cover up a search of a home without a warrant.

In January, the New York Attorney General’s Office criticized the city police department over its handling of a fatal police-involved shooting and the subsequent investigation.

Owens seeks to build closer relationships with those who may not trust the department.

“It will take time. Certainly, if we make a promise we have to keep it. If we make a mistake we have to admit it. If there’s a chance to get better at what we do, we need to make those improvements.”

Joining Chief Owens are two new assistant chiefs. Captain Dan DeWolf was promoted to Assistant Chief on Wednesday. A swearing-in will be held in the future for Captain Christopher Kehn.

Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden say the department’s new leaders come from a different era of police training.

Madden said he shares a philosophy with Chief Owens about emphasizing the community policing model.

“At one point in time, Troy was nationally recognized for its community policing initiatives,” said Madden. “I’d like to bring us back to that. I’m not saying that we’ve discarded that but I don’t know if we’ve kept as current on that as I would like.”

Madden also joins a chorus of city leaders who would like to see the expansion of technology in the department. Owens, who is experienced in technology at the department, previously worked on rolling out the city’s street camera program, a project he hopes to expand.

City Council technology chair Anasha Cummings and Council President Pro Tem said he hopes to see the city and police force operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

“Certainly we’re looking into the some of the recommendations out of the Attorney General’s report around body cameras and some of the process improvements,” said Cummings.

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello is also pledging her support to Owens and the police force that she called second-to-none.

“I am committed to ensuring that the city council provides those tools and those resources that are needed for the chief and the department to move forward.”

Mantello also hopes to see Owens boostdepartment morale.

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