You are currently viewing Michele Andre Takes Over as Albany Community Policing Review Board Program Manager

Michele Andre Takes Over as Albany Community Policing Review Board Program Manager

Albany Community Policing Review Board’s new program manager begins.

Michele Andre has been named the Program Manager of the City of Albany Community Policing Review Board, which is supported by the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.

Created by the city in 2000, the CPRB is an independent body responsible for improving communication between the city and its police department, increasing police accountability and credibility with the public, and creating a review process complaints free from bias and informed of actual police practices.

Originally from Brooklyn and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, Andre attended the University of Albany where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice.

“I have over five years in public service, the majority of that time working in various city offices for the City of Albany,” Andre said. “I’ve worked in the company attorney, I’ve worked for the Common Council. And finally the auditors’ office, Audit Office of Audit and control for the city of Albany.

While there, Andre worked on youth programs and on COVID-19 response efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in vaccine distribution. As director of the board, she says she plans to use her multitasking and community engagement abilities to keep the public informed.

“One of the main things that right now when I’m looking at, like, what can I bring to the board, especially as they’re transitioning, and they’ve gained more authority, really looking to increase transparency in regards to our complaints process, really create a safe and efficient way to file a report,” said André. “And a simple and fair investigation of police misconduct is really what I looks to hope to bring to this community policing review board.

Following a local law passed by the Common Council and signed by Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan in 2021, a voter-approved ballot measure gave new powers to the nine-member council, including the ability to conduct its own independent investigations into complaints against police officers. .

The CPRC is currently engaged in an ongoing discussion with officials, negotiating an agreement to share information regarding investigations, reports and evidence, including body camera video. Andre says the panel is looking to improve ways to get information, including through online access.

“There’s no information that I would say we’re not getting right now, in terms of similar information. It’s more about how we can access that evidence, right , video cameras and, you know, footage, anything that may be relevant to a particular complaint,” Andre said. “It really differs depending on the complaint. It’s not a universal requirement when it comes to what we have access to. It really depends on the case. You know, I think what we’re really looking to do is be able to get that information, you know, remotely, especially since the majority of members are part time and often the time the office can be open for us to access these files is between 9am and 5pm which is really difficult for some of the members who have regular jobs full time to be able to do it. So often I think q ue it prolongs the complaint review process, because we have to, you know, review this information.

The panel met with officials on Tuesday, including Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins, who told council members he supports them and believes the CPRB is “part of progressive policing.”

“I chose to have a very diverse command staff, and you know, not just you know, racially diverse, but how they, you know, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender diversity, sexual orientation” , Hawkins said. a kind of diversity, with decision-making and input being received. And I see this CPRB as an extension of that. Because now I have the opportunity to have another pair of eyes, people from this community, who are not looking at the same inputs and data points that we are looking at. And that gives me some perspective. But it may be the same thing, but often it will be different. And I think it’s very important for me to have that perspective. And so I’m just throwing it out there just to let you know and let the public know that basically I’m very, very supportive of the CPRB, especially the CPRB that we have here at City Hall.

The police and council are developing an information sharing policy, including what types of files may be shared and which may need to be redacted when shared or prohibited from sharing. André says both sides are making progress.

“It is still under discussion, we have just come closer. And I think we’re closer than we thought right now when it comes to the deal,” André said. “As far as information sharing goes, we’re looking at really improving what we’re getting now. access to information. Right now, right now, we have to go to the OPS to, you know, schedule appointments to access records or any evidence, and we’re working on the language right now so we can access that information remotely. And that, you know, we’re trying to approach the language in a way that works for both parties, to be able to really start that process, and really, you know, get into the 21st century as far as sharing information .”

To date, attendance at board meetings has been low. André focuses on raising public awareness of the sessions and encourages residents to participate in person or online.

“I think right now there are some competing meetings going on as well,” Andre said. with other popular meetings of the time, in particular with the public. But it’s one of those things that I would say it really depends on. Not many of us attended. You know, just find different ways. I think right now too, in terms of who we should be outreaching to, you know, different neighborhood associations to spread the word, especially right now. We’re going through a rebranding phase right now, but we also really want to emphasize our independence and be community driven.

CCRP meeting information and updates are available online:

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