The Albany Police Department held a “piping out” ceremony today outside headquarters to mark the end of Chief Brendan Cox’s service.
Since joining the force in 1994, Brendan Cox has ascended through the ranks of the Albany Police Department, eventually named the city's acting chief when so-called "people's chief" Steven Krokoff abruptly resigned in April 2015 to take a job in the Atlanta suburbs. Cox was officially appointed chief in July 2015. Tuesday, in the bitter cold along Henry Johnson Boulevard, his career came full circle.
"Not only do I know that the change that you helped to create will be sustained within this department, but you've also changed this community. You have changed our expectations. You have changed our relationship. You have changed the way that we view the men and women of this department," said Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who cited a few of Cox's major accomplishments, including rolling out the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion or "LEAD" program, with a goal of reducing low-level arrests, recidivism, and racial disparities. His tenure was also marked by community conversations with residents and a mandate that officers carry business cards to better identify themselves to citizens they meet. He oversaw the city's installation of red light cameras and saw to it that Albany would test body cameras on its officers.
With his wife Ann and two sons, Connor and Spencer, at his side, Cox told the gathering that the last 23 years have gone by "ridiculously fast." "I might be the face of this department, but you guys are the ones that do the hard work day in and day out that makes a difference for this community. And I know that you guys are continue to do that long after I'm gone."
Mayor Sheehan says the bar has been raised and she's going to keep it high. "Anytime you look to replace a leader like Chief Cox it's really difficult, so we are going to be very methodical about it, and we are waiting now for some recommendations from our personnel office with respect to how other cities have approached this type of search. I think it's important that we really find a leader for this department who is willing to carry on the work that is being done here. And that may very well come internally, it may come externally, but we're going to be very methodical about how we move forward and do that search."
Cox, now with the National LEAD program, will continue to live in the Capital Region and work out of an office on Sheridan Avenue, just a few blocks from police headquarters.
Deputy Chief Bob Sears has been appointed acting chief, while a nationwide search is on for Cox's successor.