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Albany seeking public input in search for new police chief

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ALBANY -- It's been more than a year since the city of Albany has had a permanent police chief. The department has been led by Acting Chief Robert Sears since January 2017. Now, the city says it's time to choose a leader - with the community's help.

The city is using a number of forums to enlist feedback from the community. Organizers say this is an opportunity for residents to give their input about what they want to see in the city's next police chief.

City officials led the first of three community meetings Sunday, along with an outside consultant hired to help with the task of choosing a new police chief. Community members chimed in with suggestions and qualities they'd like to see in a new chief - for example, someone who has lived in the city for some time or is familiar with that area. Officials say they're looking at all candidates but would not say specifically if Sears is one of them.

"As we've dealt with other priorities, he's filled in, and now that all those other things have been handled and dealt with, now it's time for the city to focus on finding their permanent police chief,” Albany Chief Diversity Officer Jellisa Joseph said.

There are three meetings in total - another Monday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Ave. library, and the last on Tuesday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Albany Jewish Community Center.

Leaders say they hope to have a new police chief chosen by summertime.

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