October 9th Meeting Recap and Video Footage

On October 9, 2019 A Block at at Time held a community meeting on “The State of the Albany Police Department and the Future of Community Policing” with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins and Albany Police Officers Union President Greg McGee. The full meeting video is below. During this meeting we learned some important information which residents should be aware of (italicized information was added to provide additional information):

  • There is a nationwide shortage of police officers
  • Albany is struggling to recruit and retain police officers
  • The Albany Police Department is responsible for the 911 dispatch center which is budgeted for 30 dispatchers. Currently:
    • 13 dispatchers down leaving us with just 26 dispatchers
    • 1 dispatcher just put in their 2 week notice (leaving use with 25)
    • 1 is going out on medical leave (leaving use with 24)
    • 5 new hires in training (bribing us up to 29 after training)
    • Dispatchers are working 70+ hours per week
  • The Albany Police Department is budgeted for 340 sworn officers, of which 272 are officers and detectives (non-command staff). Currently:
    • 53 down leaving us with 219 officers and detectives
    • Of those 219
      • 52 are detectives (leaving 167 officers)
      • 5 are on long term medical leave (leaving 162)
      • 3 are on active military leave (leaving 159)
      • 3 are suspended (leaving 156)
      • 54 are in specialized units like the training academy, NEU (Neighborhood Engagement Unit = beat officers), ect… (leaving 102 patrol officers)
      • This leaves 102 patrol officers
    • Albany needs 63 officers per 24 hour to meet minimum staffing resulting in many new officers being repeatedly mandated to work double shifts and many days in a row without time off.
      • Some general increased risks of overworked staff include:
        • increased stress
        • increased accidents
        • decreased work performance
        • poor health habits
        • increased health risks
          • burnout
          • higher risk of depression
          • increased risk of suicide
        • quality of life issues
          • increased risk of home and family issues
        • the list goes on…
    • Of the 287 sworn officers (including command staff)
      • 28 officers and detectives can retire today
      • 6 more officers and detectives can retire in 2020
      • 22 command staff can retire today
    • Since December 2018 APD has lost
      • 6 bosses
      • 14 officers and detectives have retied
      • 8 officers quit
      • 2 officer completed training and quit
      • 3 left for personal reasons
      • 3 went to trades
      • 3 went to Watervliet
      • 1 to Guilderland (2 in the last 5 years)
      • 2 to State Troopers (12 in the last 5 years)
      • 1 to Peekskill
      • In the last 5 years, additional officers have been lost to other agencies after receiving training from Albany, paid for by residents. There are currently 14 APD officers processing for the NYS State Police.

A Block at a Time would like to thank Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Police Department Chief Eric Hawkins and Albany Police Officers Union President Greg McGee for joining the discussion and working with the community to address issues in our city.

Left to right: Chief Hawkins, Zach Garafalo (ABAAT), APOU President McGee, Dannielle Hille (ABAAT), Albany Mayor Sheehan.
Albany Mayor Sheehan, Chief Hawkins and APOU President McGee during opening remarks.