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Common Council appoints Eric Hawkins as next police chief of Albany

August 21, 2018 11:47 PM

ALBANY - Eric Hawkins tenure as Chief of Police in the city of Albany, begins.

"I was attracted to the police department. Your police department has a national reputation for excellence," Hawkins said.

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Hawkins feels programs like a neighborhood watch must evolve and adapt if they'll survive and succeed and he's open to groups like Guardian Angels who want to help, but says they should be handled in a certain way.

"Guardian Angels- Im not opposed to any groups or people who want to assist in the city in a collaborative way."

A 911 dispatcher shortage, retaining and obtaining police officers and making sure they are a diverse force is something Hawkins says is a nationwide problem.

"Making sure that we listen to the folks within our department, making sure they have input in decisions," Hawkins said.

After nearly two and half hours of questions from common council members, the public got their chance to speak.

"There's still the issue of accountability for excessive force," Albany County Legislator, Mert Simpson said.

Hawkins addressed the need for officers to be aware of how their actions are perceived.

He says through training, their communication skills can improve so we see less of or no police involved shootings that end in civilian deaths.

"Communication, communication. Making sure you have face-to-face, interpersonal communication with people," Hawkins added.

And while many in attendance were eager to welcome the new chief, Albany resident Danniele Hille was disappointed Hawkins wasn't more accessible to neighborhoods, before his appointment.

"I think that more opportunity needs to be given to the community and I'd like to hear more from him," Hille said.

"I challenge you to deal with the causes and not effects you spoke on," another resident said.

The Mayor will schedule a swearing in ceremony before Chief Hawkins can officially get to work.

Credits

Karen Tararache

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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