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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes, June 4, 2008

Albany Public Library


I.   Introduction

President Howard Stoller made brief remarks discussing the genesis of the idea for tonight’s speakers and everyone in attendance introduced themselves.


II. Presentation

David Soares, Albany County District Attorney


DA Soares discussed the District Attorneys Office and how the neighborhood Associations are a large part of their crime fighting strategy.  He went on to discus the Community Prosecution Initiatives, and the two new offices that were opened on Clinton and Dana Ave.  These offices deal with quality of life offenses .


Soares stated that the District Attorney’s office does not own the problem, everyone does.  He emphasized that an active neighborhood is a safe neighborhood.


He followed that thought up by detailing a rash of burglaries in Pine Hills from February to April  in 2006.  The arrest of the perpetrators was made possible due to cooperation of the community.  He than discussed what the neighborhood associations are doing with the Albany Police Department.


The District Attorney stressed that it is important for the neighborhoods to come together to define the problem and identify the location of criminal activity through mapping.  This is done through a Neighborhood Assessment Strategy, where the DA’s office will provide a tax map of each neighborhood association, so they can define their strengths and weaknesses.  Every neighborhood association is different and will have different issues.  He stressed that each neighborhood association should have a public safety subcommittee.


Soares gave examples of working with landlords, the Department of Social Services and Parole and Probation officers to remove criminal elements from neighborhoods.


It is important that people know the proper authorities to call when they see problems.  He used the example of a convenience store selling cigarettes to minors, and that the Department of Health or Tax and Finance may be a better place to contact.


Soares then discussed the idea of Community Accountability Boards in which citizens make decisions on how people will be punished for quality of life crimes.  He wants every neighborhood association to have one since it empowers citizens in the community.


The next topic of discussion was the Safe Homes, Safe Streets program.  Landlords register tenants so police can tell if people are “where the should be.”  He stated that landlords have a responsibility to address problem tenants.


The District Attorney then pointed out that Albany County is the only county in the country that has a Citizen Observer Program, in which citizens can go online to contact law enforcement about criminal activities through either emails or text messages.  This tool is used to hold law enforcement accountable.  Soares stated that he would like to come back and do a full presentation of this program for CANA.


Soares than went on to reemphasize the importance of having a Neighborhood Assessment Strategy and Walk & Watch programs. “Bring everyone who has responsibilities to your neighborhood to the table.”


The District Attorney then took questions from CANA members.



Pat Aikens --  Director, Albany County Department of Probation


Ms. Aikens emphasized that Probation is different from Parole.  Probation gets a person before they have gone to prison, and work with them to keep the person out of there.  Probation supervises about 800 juveniles and 3,200 adults.  Probation also provides pre-sentence investigations for the court system.


Juvenile Programs - Albany County agencies work with Probation to keep juveniles out of the family court system.  Probation works with the District Attorney’s office on a Juvenile Accountability Board, which has had a great deal of success in reducing recidivism.


Pat then took questions from CANA members dealing with caseloads for Probation officers and other topics.


Ed Fraley and Joe Ingemi -- New York State Division of Parole


Most people who get out of state prison are supervised by the Division of Parole.  Ed pointed out that there are plenty of ways to get out of prison and that each of the New York’s 70 correction facilities has its own parole officers.


Most prisoners meet the Parole Board four months before release and plenty of work is done at this time. The residence that the prisoner is going home to is investigated, and the rule is that prisoners go back to the community that they came from.  In some cases, families move so the prisoner must move there also.


Parolees are “full service customers” since there are many issues that they have to deal with upon release.  In many cases when someone is released from prison things tend to fall apart, so several local and state agencies are brought to the table to help solve the problem.


Joe then pointed out that 1,600 parolees live in the four local counties and that 900 live in Albany alone.  When they come out there are conditions of parole which are not difficult to live by.  They are required to see their parole officer weekly until settled and have a job.  Then their schedule is amended.


A parole officer is responsible to keep the parolee on the straight and narrow or to get them locked up again (depending on the threat level). 


Ed and Joe than took questions from CANA members.


IV Committee Reports -- Submitted


Committee on University & Community Relations -- The next meeting was scheduled for June 11th, and other summer meetings will be on July 9th, and August 13th.  There is no current advertising campaign.


Joe Cunniff submitted a document that outlines the changes requested by Mike O’Brien and CANA against the response from the Albany Planning and Development Department


V.   Adjourned

The meeting adjourned at 8:57 PM.



June 4, 2008 Attendees





Joe Cunniff


Karen Cunniff


Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

Lynne Jackson

Albany Bicycle Coalition

Pat Maxon


Jim Lyons

Melrose NA

Anne Brewster

Wash Park NA


Shrley W. Brand


Bill Law

Mt. Hope

Eileen Murray


Aimee Allaud


Danny Egan


Officer Rick Romand

Albany PD

Harold Ekblom



Matt Montesano

Albany PD

Brad Glass

Albany DDP

Alison Olin

Donald Wardle

Hudson Park NA

125 Dove St.

Mike O’Brien

City Council

Rev. Joyce Hartwell

Westhill NA

Debbie Phaff


Paul Fowler


Gene Solan

Pine Hills NA

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

Bill Brandon


Holly Katz


Chris D’Alessandro


Ollie Jakson

Arbor Hill

Jack Moodie

Ten Broek Triangle

Harold Rubin

Center Sq. Assoc.

Howard Stoller


Andrew Harvey

Park South NA

Cad Leeh Adkins

365 State St 12210


Alison Coleman

Wash Park NA

John Cirren

Albany Library

Dominick Calsolaro

Common Council

Dianne Symansky

Pine Hills NA

163 So Allen

Mimi Mounteer

Manning Blvd NA

75 Manning Blvd

Mike Kernan

Melrose NA


Julie Elson

New Scotland/Woodlawn