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Better Safe, Not Sorry

Despite the Albany Police Department’s newfound willingness to share gun data, the Common Council considers making such transparency law

by Chet Hardin on February 25, 2010

Albany Common Councilman Dominick Calsolaro has seen a drastic change in the city’s police force. Since the retirement of James Tuffey in 2009, it has become a more transparent and community-engaged department. In fact, the leadership of Assistant Chief Steve Krokoff almost makes an ordinance compelling the force to release gun statistics in a quarterly report unnecessary.

Almost.

Tonight, the Public Safety committee will consider the ordinance sponsored by Calsolaro that would require the department to provide a report detailing “the number of illegal weapons confiscated . . . [and] the number of arrests for possession of illegal weapons, the number of arrests for illegal gun trafficking, and a list of gun trafficking charges lodged for gun trafficking offenses.”

This is information, Calsolaro said, that the public has been denied under the city’s former chiefs. Assistant Chief Steve Krokoff, who is effectively running the department while the city searches for a new chief, said that he will gladly hand over any information that the law allows. “The way I look at it is, that’s not my information to keep from anybody; that’s the public’s information,” Krokoff said.

Calsolaro is quick to point out that Krokoff has been easy to work with. And the councilman might even be convinced that there is no need to pass his ordinance, considering the department’s new temperament, except that he has fought for eight years to get this data released, “and every chief that I’ve dealt with has said the same thing, promised the statistics, and then we never get anything.”

And while Krokoff might cooperate now, without the ordinance there is no guarantee that whoever becomes the next chief will be so willing.

“I have to put this in anyway, because Krokoff might not always be there,” Calsolaro said. “I don’t want it to look like I am going after them. This is stuff that I think we need to know, and I have been asking for it for years and years and years. I want to get it done before we hire a new chief.”

“We wouldn’t be offended by the enacting of an ordinance,” said Krokoff, “but I can tell you it won’t take the enacting of an ordinance for this information to be released.”

“In fact,” Krokoff continued, “there are a lot of us in the force who never understood why we played it so close to the vest. There is no reason for the community to have to be clamoring for this information. If they want it, they should have it.”