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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Cops and Pols...

The police union in the city isn't happy about the mayor bringing in the Guardian Angels or Pataki putting troopers in patrol cars:
On Tuesday, city leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Guardian Angels, welcoming their volunteer patrols to some of the toughest neighborhoods, and Gov. George Pataki announced that uniformed troopers will be riding shotgun in patrol cars.

Now union President Chris Mesley is criticizing Mayor Jerry Jennings for embracing the initiatives, contending the Guardian Angels may be more trouble than help and young troopers are ill-equipped for the demands of urban policing. He called the moves "election-year" posturing and said the answer for lowering crime includes hiring more cops and investing in a better radio system.

"We're not looking to bash the troopers or the Guardian Angels, it's just an officer-safety issue that comes to the table," Mesley said.

The spat between the union and City Hall boiled over Tuesday, Mesley said, when he first learned about the Guardian Angels plan from a news report and then was prohibited by Chief James E. Turley from attending a meeting between the group and Jennings. The rank and file have not received any information about how the Guardian Angels operate or when and where their patrols will take place.

"We appreciate the extra eyes and ears, but there's got to be some interaction," Mesley said. "It's going to be my guys racing to backup a Guardian Angel who's got some guy in custody."

On the addition of four troopers to the 3-to-11 p.m. patrols in Arbor Hill, Mesley echoed an argument long proffered by former Public Safety Commissioner John C. Nielsen, who resisted those offers during his tenure because he felt troopers were not suited for inner-city policing.
I can see how these things can be counterproductive - a handful of new officers is not going to improve anything if they don't get along with the current officers, and that just may be the case with the Guardian Angels and the troopers. But did Jennings really do this without consultation of the police force? I'd love to know that - the TU certainly doesn't say.
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