Residents say Troy sanctuary city debate causing divide

January 06, 2019 07:34 PM

TROY – The sanctuary city debate in Troy has continued into the New Year.

On Saturday, a public forum on the topic was held for residents in the Eastside neighborhood. The resolution was tabled last month. It would direct police and other employees to not ask about the immigration status of individuals provided local government services.


"This resolution is to affirm the values of Troy being a welcoming and inclusive city," said Councilman David Bissember (D), who introduced the resolution.

But after Saturday’s meeting, some are saying the resolution is dividing the city. A group of neighbors from the Eastside Neighborhood Association had planned a public forum at the Pawling Avenue United Methodist Church. It included a panel full of law enforcement representatives.

However, Friday afternoon a Facebook post in the association group said the meeting at the church was canceled because of “far too much pressure being placed on the church and ourselves by outside individuals and groups. Rather than risk the possibility of harm to individuals and property, we have come to a mutual decision.”

Councilman Bissember and Councilman Anasha Cummings (D), decided to still hold a meeting after hearing from residents that wanted to discuss the topic. It was held at the Mt. Ida Preservation hall and they said they invited the original law enforcement panelists.

"The PBA President, the Sheriff, the Police Chief were all invited and to my understanding had confirmed their attendance,” said Councilman Bissember.

However, no one with law enforcement showed up to the meeting.

"The original meeting, I thought we had a good opportunity to engage and have conversations on the issue,” said Bissember. “I think a lot of residents did have questions that would've been better answered by the Sheriff or law enforcement."

Newschannel 13 reached out to Troy PBA President Nick Laviano who said he told Bissember Friday he would not be attending. He said the entire situation has become a circus and the council members should leave public safety matters to the professionals. Laviano has said previously he does not support the resolution as it goes against his oath as an officer.

While the city remains divided, some council members say they’re planning on moving forward with the resolution.

"The core thing right now is we're working with the police chief, we're working with the Mayor to make sure they have policies in place to make sure this is fully implementable,” said Cummings.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Sheriff Patrick Russo about why he did not attend, we have yet to hear back.


Emily De Vito

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