The Rotunda at City Hall was the setting for Friday’s swearing-in of Albany's new police chief, Eric Hawkins.
Hawkins came to Albany after a nationwide search to replace acting chief Robert Sears, who retired in July. Hawkins hails from Southfield, Michigan where he also served as police chief. Mayor Kathy Sheehan swore Hawkins in. "He is the right person, in the right place, and he will do the right thing to move our city forward."
Hawkins is apparently planting deep roots, saying he was "taken aback"... "...by the hospitality and the warmth that I've gotten from these men and women, both sworn and civilian, in this police department. And I thank you for that. It makes it a lot easier for my family and me when we feel that warmth as newcomers in a great city like this. And I look forward to working with you all over the next many many years."
Hawkins held out an olive branch to police bargaining units. "And to the members of the Albany Police Officers Union and the Albany Police Supervisors Association, I really look forward to sitting down with you and discussing some of the issues, some of the concerns as leaders, as spokespersons for the men and women of the Albany Police Department."
Hawkins told the crowd at City Hall he is excited to be here. "Albany has a national reputation. You know back in Michigan I heard about all the great things that were going on in this department, the LEAD program, the pop up barbecues. Being recognized as one of 15 agencies recognized by the White House as a model."
Hawkins pledged to carry on the city's tradition of community policing. He takes command following a violent summer marked by several homicides, multiple illegal firearms arrests and an the shooting of a city man by a detective.