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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes September 1, 2004

Albany Public Library


  1. Introductions

Each member was asked to take and use the white name plate identifying which neighborhood association they represent and to do so at each meeting.  In the future, there will be a whiteboard for members to use to place the date, time, and location of their next association meeting.  These are decisions that were made at the last meeting of the executive board.


  1. Minutes

            Minutes of the June 2004, meeting were approved.


  1. Guest Speaker

Paula Breen, Assistant Chief, Albany Police Department


In the past, city and town police forces were run as their governing bodies saw fit.  However, since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , they are now agents of homeland security.  The US Department of Homeland security provides local governments with tools for domestic preparedness.  Local law enforcement agencies are now taking responsibilities for recognizing and acting upon terrorist threats, policy changes, etc., that were previously the domain of Federal law enforcement agencies.  The Federal agencies have become more available to localities and information is shared between local and federal agencies.


Interoperability between law enforcement agencies that are located within close proximity is being emphasized, and the Capital District received a $5.4 million urban area federal grant to fund a unified command and data and voice communication system between agencies in Albany , Schenectady , and Rensselaer Counties .


The Police Department’s training programs have expanded from a focus on crime to larger issues and appropriate training is being provided.  A stronger focus is being put on potential terrorist targets such as bridges, highways, and the Knolls Atomic facility and increased security and observation is being provided.  The Department cannot act alone; community engagement in observing out-of-the-ordinary activity is strongly encouraged and the involvement of neighborhood groups and watches is being promoted.


Several programs have been developed or enhanced for citizens and neighborhood groups.


·        Neighborhood Watch and Walk and Watch:  Citizens are encouraged to participate in their neighborhood watch and walk and watch programs and be alert to any out-of-the-ordinary activities in their neighborhoods.  Training similar to what police officers learn in the police academy is available.

·        Crime Prevention through Environmental Design:  Residents are asked to join the City in designing and maintaining neighborhoods in a way that will deter crime such as replacing broken lights, trimming or removing overgrown hedges, etc.

·        Community Emergency Response Training:  Community officers have received a week of training that was developed in Los Angeles and brought to localities by FEMA.  A 20-hour course is available to citizen groups.

·         Emergency Response Partnering:  When EMS and other agencies are overwhelmed by an emergency, trained individuals can respond and assist.  Training will be offered to citizens by SEMO.


Additionally, businesses have become involved in emergency management response.


·        Operation Safeguard:  Daily advisories are distributed to appropriate businesses.

·        Questionnaires:  Each local business has designated an individual as their contact person and provided APD with their name.  APD has provided information about what kinds of activities should be reported.  Businesses of particular interest include fuel stations, auto repair shops and driving schools.

·        TIPS line:  All reports of suspicious activity are logged and reviewed by the police chiefs and joint terrorism task force.

·        The APD has provided training to civilian groups, ROTC, American Red Cross. 


Albany ’s water supply is watched and patrolled by a civilian guard.  Facilities such as private offices, hospitals, shopping malls are policed by private security officers.  New York State offers training to and regulates armed security guards.  The city has incurred some additional expense to provide extra protection in courts, etc.  The police department, however, has mostly been redeploying existing resources.  The city’s response team includes the fire department, police department, EMS , and public health services.  The National Incident Management System dictates how each responds. 


The coordination of an emergency depends upon the priority and nature of the incident.  The initial command is the responding officer.  The command can shift and/or be interdisciplinary and may shift to another agency.  The public is informed of emergency situations by the Public Information Office, media and State EOC. 


Albany ’s and police, fire, and EMS departments now have inter-operational communication equipment. 


The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are sharing information in a previously uncharacteristic manner.  State police are walking the neighborhoods with the APD; however, their expertise in not in urban policing.


The Department of Public Safety does not presently have a commissioner.  Command staffs are in constant contact and meet weekly.


The Community Police Council will resume meetings and be accomplishment and project-oriented.  Citizens are asked to identify potential projects to be undertaken or forums to be presented.


  1. New Business and Announcements

·        The Executive Board met over the summer to discuss the issues of declining attendance at CANA meetings and diminished participation and activism.  Some changes to the agenda and follow up processes were suggested and agreed upon.


1.      The first or second meeting after the summer hiatus will be spent developing an agenda for the year’s meetings.

2.      More effort will be placed on following up issues and concerns discussed in meetings.

3.      Speakers will not appear at every meeting.

4.      Concentration on issues that are of interest to all neighborhoods

5.      Reinstitute the agenda item of one neighborhood presenting information at each meeting.

6.      A sign representing each neighborhood association will be available at each CANA meeting.  Each member was asked to take and use the white sign identifying which neighborhood association they represent and to do so at each meeting. 


The chairman will email members asking that issues and agenda items be submitted.


·        The Pine Hills Neighborhood Association shared information about CVS’s proposal to expand its retail location at the corner of South Main and Madison Avenues.  CVS proposes purchasing the land that runs across Madison Avenue to the Price Chopper and one residential building on South Main Avenue and expand its present location into a drive through pharmacy.  This would mean the destruction of the Madison Theatre, the former Clapp‘s Bookstore, and several other buildings.  Residents are primarily concerned about the elimination of the neighborhood nostalgia, the appearance of suburbanization, and the diminishment of the atmosphere of a walking neighborhood.  Traffic flow in the area is another major concern.  CANA has formerly gone on record as not supporting the construction of drive-thru establishments in the city.  PHNA will prepare and present a resolution for CANA ’s consideration.


·        The Albany County League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidates’ debate for the offices of district attorney and family court judge on September 9, 2004, from 7 to 9 PM at the Albany Jewish Community Center on Whitehall Road.


·        The Pine Hills Library will reopen and dedicate the Pat Hancock Butterfly Garden on September 15, 2004 at 10 AM .  The garden has been restored with the assistance of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.


·        The first Mansion Neighborhood House and Garden Tour raised $3,000.



  1. Committee Reports

·        University and Community Relations

Next meeting will be held on Wed., September 8 at the Albany Police Department, 526 Central Avenue .  A summary of the post-survey results of the 2003-2004 Social Norms Campaign directed at long term neighbors will be presented.  Additionally, the “Fall 2004 Thirteen Point Plan will be updated.


·        Budget Committee

Members of the Budget Committee are Pat Maxon, Craig Waltz and Harold Rubin.  Pat Maxon will call a meeting prior to the budget submission on or before October 1, 2004 .


·        Nominating Committee

CANA ’s vice chairperson, Helen Black, has moved out of the Albany area.  It will be necessary for a replacement to be selected.  CANA ’s nominating committee will submit names for consideration.


  1. Adjournment


The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM .



Meeting Attendees

September 1, 2004





Holly Katz


harriskatz@ (illegible)

Colin McKnight


Fred Perkins


Bill Cleveland

West End

9 Essex St .

John Cirrin


Lorenz Worden


127 South Pine Ave

PO Matthew Montesano

Albany Police Dept

Det. Scott A. Snide

Albany Police Dept

PO Kathi Rissberger

Albany Police Department

536 Western Ave

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Paula Breen

Albany Police

Patricia Maxon


Mary Connair


68 Summit Ave

Howard Stoller


Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

1400 Washington Ave

Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St