Saratoga Springs public safety candidates seek to lower heat

SARATOGA SPRINGS – When Saratoga Springs voters choose a new public safety commissioner, they’ll be picking the person responsible for the city’s approach to social justice.

Saratoga Springs has had its share of confrontations with Black Lives Matter protestors. The new public safety commissioner will decide how those encounters will look going forward.

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Both candidates say they’re the right person to lower the temperature of the often heated clashes between police and protestors.

Tracey LaBelle, a Republican, is a 40-year-old married mother of two. James Montagnino, a Democrat, is a 65-year-old married father of two. Both want the job.

Montagnino says his experience as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney has prepared him to lead the city’s police and fire departments. LaBelle says her position as a medical device specialist, working in high-stress operating rooms, gives her the steadying hand the city needs.

Both describe themselves as pro-police and say the position requires better, more open communication between the police and the community.

"I want to be the leader in the community and in this city that brings the unity back to Saratoga, between our law enforcement and our community," said LaBelle.

"When there are questions, the commissioner is supposed to be the liaison between civilians and the uniform services. The commissioner is the person who’s supposed to be answering those questions, and that’s what I hope to do," said Montagnino.

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Learn how the two candidates differ on the Darryl Mount case, which has been the cornerstone of many protests in Saratoga Springs over the past eight years, by watching the video of Mark Mulholland’s story.