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Community Investment, Not Community Police

Virtual Event Virtual Event

May 2 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm EDT

This event is past – but you can watch the town hall on YouTube or below!


Did you know the City of Troy is voting next Thursday to expand the police force by six additional officers?

Join a coalition of groups from Troy in a Town Hall on Sunday, May 2, 2021 as we discuss recent actions by the City of Troy around policing. This gathering is being convened at the last minute as the City Council Finance Committee pushes forward to hire an additional SIX police officers to the Troy Police Department. The proposal passed in this Committee with a 5-2 vote and the full City Council vote will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Co-sponsored by Troy Coalition of Black Leaders, NAACP Troy Branch, YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, The Justice Center of Rensselaer County, Equality for Troy, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

Speakers

  • Jerry Ford (Troy Coalition of Black Leaders)
  • Renee Powell (NAACP Troy Branch)
  • Willie Terry  (Coalition of Black Trade Unionists)
  • Diamond Owens (Community Youth)
  • Starletta Smith (Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative)
  • Tasheca Medina (Equality for Troy)
  • Jessica Ashley (The Justice Center for Rensselaer County)
  • Deanna Ultimo Swenson (North Central resident)

Background

Recently, the City of Troy, like most municipalities across the State of New York, held a series of discussions on the topic of policing. Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, issued in June of 2020, required municipalities with police forces to examine the policies and procedures of their police department and make recommendations for future changes to address police violence, biased policing, and systemic racism. The measure stated its intention was to provide transparency and build trust, urging localities to hold listening sessions and meetings with community members.

Mayor Madden did not announce the creation or intentions of the Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative until the end of January 2021. There were nine highly controlled meetings held in February with very little open community participation—the city made little effort to inform residents about the meeting or how to get involved.

Once the report was drafted, in early March, Black leaders throughout the city expressed their dismay and loss of trust in the city about this process. This included all four Black PRRC committee members (Starletta Smith, Executive Director, YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, Inc. and Renée Powell, President of the NAACP, Troy, NY Branch, Pastor Justin Relf of Rhema Revealed Ministries, and Stacey Howard of Troy’s Police Objective Review Board). They released a statement decrying the report and saying that they felt “tokenized throughout this process.”

So why this, why now?

As critiques of policing grow across the country and calls for reallocating funds to expand or create new entities to respond to mental health calls, domestic disputes, traffic stops, and more, Troy is swiftly pushing forward to increase the police budget and add more police to the force. Again, with very little time for dialogue and discussion with community members and community leaders.

While the City of Troy, Mayor Madden, and the Troy City Council avoid input from community members, we are making space for dialogue and discussion. We know that with more investment in social services and community support, communities can better look out for each other and construct the means through which to survive and thrive.
In what ways can we call for structural investment to address the history of deliberate marginalization and segregation? How can we invest in our under-funded, under-served, structurally marginalized Black and brown communities?

While Mayor Patrick Madden told the Times Union, “People want police officers out in the neighborhood. They want police officers to know them. They want to know their police officers.” Given the lack of space for open dialogue and discussion, we don’t know who the Mayor is referring to.

We are convening to address the lack of dialogue, alternatives to policing, alternatives to more police and a bigger police budget as an answer, and calls to invest in our neighborhoods and communities!

Join us. Listen. Share your thoughts.

  • What should Troy be investing in?
  • Why increase an already large police budget?
  • The problems of policing in Troy.
  • What are alternatives to hiring “community” police officers?
  • Local leaders will discuss their opinions and visions for Troy
  • What are strategies for moving forward?

You can listen to Renée Powell and Starletta Smith share more about their experience on the City of Troy’s Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative committee with Hudson Mohawk Magazine producer, Elizabeth Press:

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