New York State In-depth

Mayor Sheehan gives State of the City, addresses Albany Police raises, training

“They haven’t had a raise in six years. We’ve been out trying to recruit police officers, and they’re looking at a six-year-old salary scale,” she said. “I hear overwhelmingly from our residents in every neighborhood, in every community in the city of Albany, they want to feel safe. They want our police to be there when they are called, they want them to be well trained.”

Activists protesting last week’s police shooting of Jordan Young called the raises and training into question Sunday. But Mayor Sheehan says the shooting was the only time police used deadly force, as Young officers charged with a knife, among 9,000 calls since 2019.

“The most recent shooting is an aberration, and it’s a tragedy. We don’t want our officers to have to use deadly force, we don’t want them to have to be in the position that that officer was placed in,” she said.

Sheehan believes that the situation could not have been prevented by a mental health professional at the scene, something protesters suggested, and said better mental healthcare beforehand could have kept young and officers safe.

“We have to make sure that we are holding our mental health system accountable. It’s not about the police alone. Anybody who thinks this crisis can be solved by the police is looking in the wrong place. We have to look at that entire system. That is what is failing far more than our training,” she said. “We should be asking our healthcare providers and those in leadership positions in Washington, why don’t we have the resources we need in our community to meet the mental health needs of our residents?”

The city is also investing $4 million in the public health response and $8 million in housing, transportation and community revitalization, including a larger public safety plan to hire more victim advocates and a data analyst to look at safety.

The mayor also talked about new development opportunities like the Albany Skyway and Livingston Avenue Bridge.

“We have the ability to really think and imagine in new and impactful ways,” she said.

The city also saw many new faces in 2021, with the mayor announcing a small baby boom resulting in nearly 2,000 more babies than 2020.

The city is still accepting funding proposals from individuals and organizations. You can find more information here.

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