The NYCLU conducted an exhaustive inquiry into the policies of each police department. Through our interaction, we have found that the Albany Police Department:
- Generally was responsive to our public information requests, providing most of the requested documents and policies – or at least acknowledgments of the absence of such documents – after we filed an initial appeal.
- Notably appeared to lack any policies governing how officers should conduct stops. In response to our request for these policies, we received an unrelated bulletin on bias-based policing. After our appeal, the Department told us that we were provided with “all directives, orders, guidance, procedures, memoranda, rules, regulations, forms, and other statements of policy concerning stops and/or filed interviews.”
- Could not find any policies on interacting with people with limited English proficiency and was unable to provide us with any training materials for any of the categories requested, including on stops and use of force.
Policy Spotlight: Stops and Field Interviews
It is essential for police departments to have policies in place governing the conduct of stops and field interviews. New York and federal law on police stops is complex, and without good – or for that matter, any – policies in place to guide officers, New Yorkers’ rights are at risk. Low-level stops and field interviews are among the most common encounters between police and members of the public, and they’re also some of the least transparent and most susceptible to abuse. New York City’s experience with the unconstitutional and racially discriminatory use of stop-and-frisk shows the potential for these types of encounters to destroy relationships between police and communities through widespread abuse. The Albany Police Department needs to provide its officers and the public with policies that ensure stops are being conducted lawfully and should publically report on data to back that up.
You can learn more about the policies by clicking the cards below.
Documents received by December 2016.