WNYT.com

Residents voice concern about police training exercise

Posted at: 03/25/2013 10:18 PM
Updated at: 03/26/2013 8:27 AM
By: Kumi Tucker

ALBANY - Lauren Manning is one of the Ida Yarbrough residents who took part in the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association meeting at the Arbor Hill library branch.

Representatives from Albany Police and the Housing Authority were there to listen to residents' concerns.

"I mean, how many hostages have been taken in Ida Yarbrough that they need to train for a hostage scenario in Ida Yarbrough?" she asked.

On Thursday, police took part in training in hostage rescue at vacant apartments at the public housing complex. The ammunition and injuries were both simulated,

but some say the fear created was real enough.

"My concern is that it was inappropriate anywhere, not just Ida Yarbrough. That it was more of a military-type training. That it was done in front of our children. They don't know this is training," said Manning.

"Why are these various police and law enforcement agencies using Ida Yarbrough as a Petri dish for their training exercise?" asked Bernie Bryan, president of the Albany chapter of the NAACP.

 

There is still evidence of the training exercise at the housing complex, including fake blood.

Some residents say they got no advance notification and were confined to their homes by officers.

"He was standing in front of my door, physically blocking my door, threatening my guest with arrest if she were to leave my house," said Manning.

Albany police say they do their training to save lives, and that they've done training for years all around the region. They acknowledge they failed to adequately notify residents in this case, and say in retrospect, it was insensitive to have the exercise near occupied homes.

"If you could do it around my neighborhood, what's the difference between my kids and your kids? Here, Latham, kids are kids. Families are families. People are people. Nobody wants to wake up to being in the middle of Iraq," said resident Thurston Gross.

But other residents spoke up at the meeting with a different opinion.

"They've been doing those drills forever," said resident Renee Redding. "I don't understand what everybody else's problem is because I feel like when people were getting killed in Ida Yarbrough, I didn't see none of you all at no roundtable, speaking about what's going on."