Mayor: Troy Police Should Increase Staffing, Improve Community Relations

Apr 12, 2018

The mayor of Troy has some changes in mind for the city police department. 

The Troy Police Department has weathered changes and controversies of late. In 2016, a Watervliet resident was killed in an encounter with officers from Troy. Chief John Tedesco stepped down in December 2017 after 40 years on the force, just days before the release of a scathing report from the New York Attorney General’s Office that looked into the department and its handling of the shooting and the subsequent investigation.

In February, a special Rensselaer County grand jury indicted two detectives who allegedly filed a fake burglary report to cover up a warrantless search of an apartment.

Now, 20-year- veteran officer Brian Owens has taken over as chief. He pledged to build closer police-community relations.

And Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden would like to boost the department's community policing mission. "I think that anytime people develop relationships with each other, necessarily they develop a greater understanding, more empathy, they work better together, we do that, I did that in civilian work forces where you do team building. It's the same notion, you get to know people, you get to know their interests, their passions, things that concern them, and then you can relate to them on a different and more personal level. i think it makes working with them easier, more productive and safer. The same applies to policing."

There has been talk of adding more officers. "That's just my thinking out loud. You know, the police department does a great job with the number of individuals they have but we're always struggling to do all of the things that we wanna do, in the police department, in the civilian work force, etc. As we expand community policing and we put more people out in a community policing environment, the troops are spread thin, so this is my again thinking out loud in a effort to answer the question 'is this the right size police force for a city of this size?'"

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello says if the mayor sees a need to increase the size of the police force, he should have added the item when he presented his budget. "There was no mention of new police officers when discussing the budget. I would hope that the mayor would come forward with some type of plan."

Numbers from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services show in 2017, Albany had 333 full-time officers;  Schenectady, 145; Troy, 123.  Mantello wants to know where funding would come from to pay for hiring additional officers.  "Any discussion regarding new employees we're going to have to look at it very carefully, look to see where potentially the money is going to come from and where the police officers, how would they be deployed. And then lastly, the census, over the last few times, our population is actually decreasing, do we need more police officers?”

Madden:   "We need to explore a little bit. I don't know that the number we have now is the result of a thoughtful process or if it was a result of a budget negotiation, but I think every now and then I think it makes sense to look at your workforce and say 'is this sufficient for what we're trying to accomplish here?'"