Monday, December 11, 2023

Council members say headway being made vs crime

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

“The police are dealing with this,” said Ward 2 Councilman Robert Landry when contacted Tuesday. Is Glens Falls safe? “I think basically we are safe. Go 50 miles south of here, every day there’s a shooting in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady, and that surrounding area, and there’s other violent crime.”

Mr. Landry said, “I’m glad to see the city, especially the police department take the approach of — we’re not going to go after these kids and have them get a slap on the hand. We’re going to go after the parents, because that’s where the problem of this particular incident came from.”

Mr. Landry said he has had calls from constituents about the attacks downtown, including one man who said he thinks twice before walking downtown.

“I think he’s very justified in doing that,” Mr. Landry said. “But I tried to tell him that we can’t just stop it, but I do believe that our police department has been aggressive in addressing it.”

The Chronicle, following up last week’s front-page story about two brothers in their 60’s allegedly assaulted on South Street, sought reaction from Common Council members and Mayor Bill Collins.

Ward 3’s Diana Palmer said by text, “I think it’s horrible that anyone would have to experience an unprovoked assault like that in our City, and it stands out because it’s not a common occurrence here.

“I’m optimistic that with the significant investment our Council is making in the Police Department, we are demonstrating a commitment to public safety that will help us with recruitment and retention, making our City an even safer place to live, work and visit.”

Ward 1’s Ed Donohue said, “Police Chief Smith and the police department did an excellent job taking care of the summer mayhem in downtown Glens Falls.”

He said, “I think there’s total lack of parental supervision. And parents are responsible for their children’s actions. I just can’t believe this is going on in the city of Glens Falls and done by 12 year olds and teenagers.”

Police Chief Jared Smith and victim Jody Brown gave differing accounts of the case. Chief Smith said Mr. Smith needed to come in to give a statement, Mr. Smith said he had visited the police station multiple times and was rebuffed.

Does this concern Mr. Donohue? He said, “I think they [the police] need to give them [the victims] more information. I understand that the officer who responded is the one that has to write up everything…They need to be more forthcoming, and more helpful for someone that needs to file complaints concerning situations like occurred on South Street.

“At the time they [police] didn’t give them the time the officers would be showing up and things like that. So, I think they dropped the ball. Definitely.”

Mr. Landry said he had no comment regarding the disconnect between Chief Smith and Mr. Brown.

“I’m sorry to hear that they were assaulted,” Mayor Bill Collins said. “We’re following up on it, it’s an active investigation. I believe we’ve identified now the three men that were involved and we continue to make progress on the case.”

Mayor Collins clarified that the suspects are juveniles.

“One of the building owners came back from being out of town” and provided police with “video footage to help them identify some of these kids,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Collins said he has not heard from constituents about the assault.

Does that mean the public doesn’t care?

“I’m sure they care, they care about their public safety, and we do everything we can to address public safety,” he said.

The Mayor said the city needs anybody “experiencing these things to call” the police.

“And I think the second gentleman needs to file a report so we can follow up on it. I think the other gentleman, we’re still waiting for a hospital report to see if we can elevate the charges against these youth,” Mayor Collins said.

Ward 4’s Ben Lapham said via text, “I don’t think I know the details. I have a new job with NYSED that has been taking my focus.”

Councilman-at-Large Jim Clark and Ward 4’s Mary Gooden could not be reached for comment.

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