2021 Community Champions
Beverly Padgett has been a long-time community activist in the City of Albany always putting the needs of the community above her own.
This could be no truer than in her work around police reform. Beverly has always made it a priority to bridge the gap between the community and the police.
These efforts include a community driven police recruitment effort focused on hiring and retaining more people of color so that the Albany police department more accurately reflected the make-up of the community
Beverly has been a frequent participant in neighborhood safety forums, police civilian review board meetings, and other public safety forums whenever she was invited.
In 2009 Beverly was appointed as one of the originating members of the Albany Community Police Advisory Committee (ACPAC).
ACPAC was formed at a critical time in the history of the city of Albany. The police department was in the process of reorganizing under a true community policing philosophy and ACPAC was formed to assist the department in ensuring the public
had a voice.
Beverly proved to be one of the strongest voices at the table, ensuring the community, especially those communities most marginalized by historically harmful police practices, were heard loud and clear.
Beverly was a two-time chairperson of ACPAC and helped lead the way in transforming how the police department and community interacted with one another. The work that Beverly chaired with ACPAC led to a new strategic plan for the police department and national recognition as one of the top fifteen police departments in the nation in implementing President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommendations.
The culmination of her work is documented in the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC. and is on a 10-year display in the museum.
Beverly’s dedication and perseverance throughout the years have helped transform how policing happens in the city of Albany. Her abilities to ensure the citizens of Arbor Hill and West Hill were represented over the past fifteen years have been second to none.
In addition to her community advocacy for police reform, she has also been assisting at the Baby Institute since 2010.
Beverly is one of the shining examples of why Albany leads the way in showing the country how true community policing is done.
Orville Abrahams is the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions at the New York State Department of Labor.
Prior to this position he served as the Director of Community Development for the Capital District YMCA.
Mr. Abrahams is a member of the University at Albany’s Albany Minority Health Task Force which supports local efforts to achieve health equity for people of color.
He is a member of [ALERT] Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team which helps to build greater understanding, trust and respect between the community and law enforcement.
He has worked with various community groups to produce programs that reduce the prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in communities of color.
Mr. Abrahams has worked with local activists, lawmakers, Albany County Health Department and community volunteers to have the City of Albany pass a Healthy Meeting and Events policy into law.
He has worked to get the local Black Chamber of Commerce to expand its operating capacity.
He organized volunteers and produced the region’s first African Heritage Parade in 2019.
A native of Jamaica, West Indies, Orville has been working on behalf of community concerns in the Capital District for the majority of his professional career. He spent his formative years growing up in Albany’s South End.
He attended Albany public schools and graduated from The State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and earned his M.B.A. from the SUNY Albany School of Business.
He has served honorably in the United States Army Reserve and previously worked as a Development Manager for the Albany Housing Authority.
Orville volunteers in youth mentoring programs as a member of the Beta Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where he is a past Chapter President.
He is a member of the Albany NAACP, a board member of A Village, Inc., a volunteer with the South End Community Collaborative, a member of the Albany City Violence Prevention Task Force appointed by Mayor Sheehan and attends the Black Catholic Apostolate Church. He lives in Colonie with his wife and three children.
For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Orville Abraham as a 2021 Community Champion.
Celinda Okwuosa is a native of Albany, New York. She is a woman of many talents; her mother described her as a “jack of all trades and master of some.” Under the tutelage of her mother, she became an accomplished vocalist by the time she was a teenager.
Celinda received her B.S. in Business Administration from Russell Sage College and a M.A. in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany. She was employed for many years until retirement with New York State government.
Celinda has been featured on numerous local radio and television stations and has sung at many events across the United States. In 1986, she recorded her first, live gospel album at Chancellor's Hall in the City of Albany, titled Rejoice.
She loves writing, cooking, designing clothing, making jewelry, and decorating her home. She is a licensed Elder in her church, Empire Christian Center of Albany, New York, where she leads the Women’s Ministry.
Celinda published her first novel this year, "Shouting Shoes" which is an enthralling novel filled with themes of American history, the complexities of the Black family and faith.
Throughout her lifetime she has been engaged in various programs to help youth. In 1997, she founded Girl Let's Talk, Inc., a successful mentoring program for girls ages 10-18, teaching them science, technology, writing, social and personal life skills development.
Celinda is the proud mother of five, wonderful children; twelve, loving grandchildren, and one adorable great-grand son.
With pleasure, ALERT honors Celinda Okwuosa as a Community Champion, for these contributions and many more.
Law Enforcement Champions
New York State Trooper Lisa MacLauchlin began her career with the New York State Police in 2006. She attended Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY where she majored in Criminal Justice and Sociology.
After graduating from the New York State Police Academy, she worked road patrol in Troop G until her appointment as a State Police Recruitment Officer.
During her time in the Capital Region, Lisa has served our community through her work with the State Police Youth Program, and volunteering with programs such as the Boys and Girls Club and Girls Inc.
She regularly speaks to, and visits area schools, colleges, club and scout groups, provides education on child passenger safety to local hospital groups, as well as attends career fairs and community events in the hopes of finding young men and women who not only have a passion for serving others but a willingness to be part of the change, we need in law enforcement.
In addition to her duties as a Trooper, Lisa participates in various initiatives and organizations such as: ALERT, Junior Achievement, Capital District high school intern and mentorship programs, the LEADership Project, Safe Kids Worldwide and New York Women in Law Enforcement.
For these and many more reasons, ALERT is honored to recognize Lisa MacLauchlin as a Law Enforcement Champion.
Community Outreach Specialist, Thomas joined the FBI in 2017 through the Honors Intern program. Upon graduating from The College of Saint Rose, she was hired as a full time Operational Support Technician (OST) in 2019.
Shortly after, she was promoted to Community Outreach Specialist in the Spring of 2020, where she had the unique challenge of promoting community outreach during not only a global pandemic, but a tumultuous time of civil unrest. Despite those challenges, J’Hahna organized multiple outreach events throughout the entire coverage area of the Albany Field Office, which includes most of New York state, as well as Vermont.
Ms. Thomas has worked closely with community organizations such as the Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team (ALERT), Jamil Hood’s House of Hoops, the Syracuse Chapter of Girls, Inc., and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
We congratulate her on her recent promotion to Staff Operations Specialist (SOS) which has her assisting more people with case work at the office. Despite this, she’s still an active member of the field office’s Community Outreach Team.
An Albany native, and graduate of Albany High School (2015), COS Thomas is passionate about giving back to her community and educating youth and adults about the criminal justice system.
She’s incredibly proud to call Albany home and looks forward to serving as a mentor for others in the Albany community looking to join the FBI.
For these and many more reasons, ALERT is honored to recognize COS Thomas as a 2021 Law Enforcement Champion.
Over the years, you would see Albany Police Officers, Dan Biette and Brian Hawley always together working in the community.
From serving food, to helping coordinate community functions, they worked tirelessly to ensure that the Albany Police Department was engaging with the residents of the city.
Both have recently retired from the Albany Police Department, and their service will be sorely missed, but their impact will be felt for years to come.
For these and many more reasons, ALERT is honored to recognize both Dan Biette and Brian Hawley as partners for life and as our 2021 Law Enforcement Community Champions.