Analysis Reveals Lack of Police Policies and Data in Capital Region Departments
The NYCLU conducted an exhaustive inquiry into the policies of police departments in the Capital Region area
NEW YORK – The New York Civil Liberties Union released today a new analysis revealing a lack of transparency and diversity within police departments in the Capital Region, reinforcing the mistrust between police and the communities they serve. Similar to our analysis of the Albany Police Department, most departments declined to share pertinent information regarding internal policies and procedures.
The NYCLU requested information on basic police functions and operations, including use of force, police stops, low-level offense enforcement, department diversity, and use of surveillance technology from three police departments that operate in the Capital Region.
“When we analyzed police department records across the state last year, we found that there were very few rules that police the police in New York, and unfortunately our look into the departments in the Capital Region yielded the same results,” said Michael Sistzky, Lead Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This is yet another indication to the legislature that laws like 50-a that allow the police to shield important information from the public must be repealed.”
The NYCLU conducted an exhaustive inquiry into the policies of each police department and our analysis revealed:
Saratoga Springs Police Department
- The department is 85 percent male and 99 percent white with no women or people of color holding any position above Lieutenant
- There are no policies on bias-based policing, interacting with persons with disabilities, or interacting with persons with limited English proficiency
- The department included no demographic information for any of the 11,511 people stopped between 2012 and 2014
Schenectady Police Department
- The department uses predictive policing software but has no written policies on it in place
- The department heavily redacted its use of force policy and withheld information on the types of weapons carried by officers and the range of permissible force an officer can take in response to a person’s actions
- The department produced 392 use of force reports for the two-year period between April 2013 and May 2015 but redacted most info on race and gender from the reports
Troy Police Department
- The department was 93 percent male with no women holding a position above an officer/detective
- Only 5 percent of the department identifies as a person of color, although people of color make up 30 percent of Troy’s population
- The department did not provide demographic information on more than 90 percent of its use of force reports from 2012-2014
- The department carried out 71 misconduct investigations, between 2012 and 2015, half of which were related to the unauthorized use of force
“The public deserves to know what rules our police must follow to be able to hold them accountable when they abuse their power, use excessive force, or make discriminatory stops or arrests,” said Melanie Trimble, Chapter Director of the NYCLU Capital Region Chapter. “Having dangerous predictive policing software but no written policies for how it’s used is both irresponsible and ultimately detrimental to our community.”
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The Latest in Criminal Law Reform
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.
Learn More About Criminal Law Reform
The Criminal Law Reform Project seeks to end harsh policies and racial inequities in the criminal justice system.