Thursday, July 9, 2015

SWAT's New?

During the often contentious discussions about Hudson entering into a shared services agreement with Columbia County and Greene County for a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, opponents argued against what they perceived as the militarization of the Hudson Police Department and questioned the need for a SWAT team in our tiny city. Others were more sanguine, believing that it was entirely possible that something catastrophically awful might happen in Hudson to make us all grateful for the existence of a well-trained SWAT team, and trusting that Chief Edward Moore, who in the words of Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) has "always exhibited sensitivity to the people of the city," would deploy the SWAT team only in situations that absolutely required it. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) likened the SWAT team to an insurance policy--"something you hope you never need, but it's there if you do need it."

On April 21, the Common Council approved the shared services agreement. On June 24, the formation of the new "Shared Services Response Team" was officially announced at a press conference. Two weeks later, on July 7, our insurance policy, which we hoped we would never need, was deployed for the first time to execute a search warrant at Hudson Terrace, at 4:30 in the afternoon. 

A vocal opponent of the SWAT team, Kaya Weidman, co-director of Kite's Nest, was quoted in the Register-Star as saying the deployment of the team was "excessive and made the community feel unsafe." Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) reported that senior citizens living at Hudson Terrace were "frightened and confused by the raid" and parents wanted to know why it had happened "during the daytime on top of the children with their guns out." Chief Moore is reported to have said "the only hazard during the raid was from bystanders videotaping the police."

Gossips has obtained a copy of the video made by one of those bystanders and permission to share it with readers.

For anyone concerned that deploying the SWAT team, which was hoped would be a rare occurrence, might become a bimonthly happening, the next "Meet the Chief" session is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Community Room at Bliss Towers. It's an opportunity for all residents to meet with Chief Moore to ask questions, share concerns, and make suggestions.

No comments:

Post a Comment