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2023 Albany Bridge Builders
Award Ceremony

Around the nation, relationships remained strained between many law enforcement agencies and the people they have been sworn to protect and serve. In the Capital Region, through the efforts of ALERT and the partnerships we have entered into with community and police agencies, we are one step closer to having a more peaceable region.


I’ve said on occasion that there is no one program, organization, policy, or law that is going to automatically make things better. It will take individuals who will make the effort, gain understanding, who will be consistent during times of peace, and who will engage in positive communication, for us to see lasting change.


This is what our honorees have done. Sometimes at the expense of being mocked and ridiculed by the very people they are trying to help; they kept their eyes on the goal and became a link in the chain that makes our region better.


This year, we are privileged to honor a group of twenty-six (26) individuals across several law enforcement agencies and from various organizations,  walks, and occupations in life. Although different in many ways, the thing they have in common is their desire to see a unified city.


We refer to these individuals as Bridge Builders. Bridge Builders are necessary in Albany for the city to be at peace and for relationships to be strengthened between law enforcement and the residents of the city. Each of these unsung heroes labored intently.


In special recognition this year we honor the memory of a Lifelong Community Advocate for justice. John Harris was an educator and agent for equity for the underserved in Albany. He left a legacy for a better community for others to follow.


In addition, we are honoring Troop G of the New York State Police with our Law Enforcement Champion Award for their consistent participation in our efforts. Since 2015, through five (5) leadership changes, they seamlessly made our law enforcement and community engagement efforts productive by their support and participation.


For our Community Champion Award, we are honoring the law firm of Harding and Mazzotti, LLC. Their wisdom, advisement, and support since 2019 and assisting us through COVID 19, have allowed ALERT to make a greater impact on our region.


I’m confident that you will agree that Albany has many Bridge Builders and Community Champions who have laid the groundwork for others to follow. We will continue seeking these individuals out and acknowledge their great efforts.


Please join me, our ALERT Board of Directors, and our Task Force in congratulating our 2023 recipients of our Albany Bridge Builders award. Their tireless efforts allow our city to “Live today with hope for a stronger, safer and more peaceful tomorrow.”  



Kaweeda G. Adams


Kaweeda G. Adams is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, and a proud resident of Albany, NY.

She is a third-generation educator committed to providing diverse educational opportunities that meet the needs of all students. She is a mentor and coach of instructional leaders aspiring to build equitable educational delivery systems.


Mrs. Adams earned her BA in English Education from the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1989, she earned her Master of Education degree in Education Administration and Higher Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Kaweeda G. Adams served the City School District of Albany from 2017-2023. Under Mrs. Adams’ leadership, she committed the district to enhancing the delivery of quality educational instruction. This was accomplished by implementing equitable, research-based educational practices that eliminate the racial predictability of student success.


She implemented STEM and Hydroponic instruction which introduced freight farming in an urban setting. During her tenure, the graduation rate increased from 65% in 2017 to 82% in 2022, while closing the achievement gap among diverse groups of students.


In 2019, she developed the first Equity in Education policy which served as the foundational lens for restructuring instructional and operational best practices.


Mrs. Adams currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Research and Policy for the Conference of Big 5 School Districts in New York State. This organization represents 46% of the student population in New York State and advocates for equitable funding and learning conditions for the five largest urban school districts and three affiliates in New York State.


Mrs. Adams was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Reimagining Education in NY State during the worldwide COVID pandemic.


Mrs. Kaweeda Adams is an active member of the Albany community and region, serving as a member of:

  • The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

  • The American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

  • The Education Research and Design Institute (ERDI)

  • The Capitalize Albany Corporation

  • The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York

  • The Albany Chapter of the NAACP

  • 518 ElevatED (formerly Sponsor-A-Scholar)

  • The Albany Symphony Orchestra

  • Board Chairperson for the Capital Region, American Heart Association

  • First Vice-President and Program Chairperson for the Delta Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha

  • Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


She states, “In order to ensure that our students are prepared for college and careers, our entire community must work together at all levels to ensure equity, access and opportunity for every scholar.”


As part of her commitment to the community, she has been a proponent for peaceful relationships between her students and the authorities. Working at times with ALERT, she has advocated for positive mentoring and engagement of her students with law enforcement.


As school superintendent, Mrs. Adams promoted and advocated for the LEADERSHIP Project within the school system that is sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office, Northern District, NY. She stated:

“The LEADership Project is an excellent example of the type of community partnership that is so important to helping our scholars learn to make good decisions and build strong relationships. Our scholars are building visions of themselves as adults, and this program is supporting them in taking positive first steps down those pathways to successful futures.”


Mrs. Kaweeda Adams has been a guest speaker and panelist at UAlbany, Siena, Skidmore, Russell Sage, and St. Rose colleges.


She is the proud wife of Mr. Eric J. Adams, Sr. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Mrs. Kaweeda G. Adams as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.









Ron “Cook” Barrett


Known as “Cook,” Ron Barrett has been a catalyst in youth development for over 30 years. He is a certified Gang Specialist involved in a number of prevention, intervention, and suppression efforts.


He is a dynamic speaker who provides seminars locally, nationally, and internationally, educating communities and law enforcement agencies on identifying and preventing gangs and their effects on the community.


Cook has been a presenter for numerous Gang Investigator Associations throughout the United States including New York, New Jersey, Northern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Virginia, Utah, Colorado STING, the Northwest, Midwest, Ontario, International Latino, and others.


He has trained over twenty-five thousand law enforcement officers and has presented to over fifty thousand youth. He has coordinated a Gang Prevention Teen Night in conjunction with the YMCA. For over 23 years the program has been a blueprint for other youth agencies.


He is a certified Workforce Development Specialist focusing on inmate re-entry and is a certified Thinking for a Change Specialist (T4C) and Decision Point’s specialist, training clients with transitional services.


Ron Cook Barrett was presented with:

·        The 2001 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

·        The New York State Governor’s Dr. King Leadership Award for 2004

·        The 2008 New Jersey Gang Investigators Association award for his Outstanding Prevention     and Intervention efforts

·        The 2009 New York State Department of Health Community Service and Leadership Award

·        The 2010 Lasallian Service Award for his outstanding contribution through community service

·        The 2015 Frank Chapman Memorial Institutes, Capital Districts Men of Valor Award

·        The 2013 and 2019 YMCA Black and Latino Adult Achiever’s Award


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Ron “Cook” Barrett as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.







Eva M. Bass


Eva Bass was appointed Avillage, Chief Executive Director in 2022. Avillage’s mission is to identify inequities and confront their root causes by galvanizing the community and leveraging resources to create transformational change in Albany's South End. Avillage’s values prioritize marginalized voices, fight systemic racism and oppression, deliver strategic solutions, and acknowledge we are stronger together.


In 2014, Bass founded and serves as the Executive Director of Bridge Tha Gap Resource & Outreach, Inc. (BTGRO). BTGRO is a grassroots non-profit organization that focuses on bridging the gap between stakeholders and service gaps to direct community needs. BTGRO offers an array of programs that focus on those effected from the adverse effects of mass incarceration, poverty, racism, bullying, Gun violence, domestic violence and (Community Violence). BTGRO believes that unity and collaboration is the key to reviving our communities. Their models leverage existing community strengths to " BTGRO " between urgent needs and equitable resources and focuses on empowerment and connecting individuals and families to resources that help them achieve their greatest self through the lens of The Social Determinants of Health.


Bass is the former Equity Chair and Community Engagement Coordinator at the City of Albany’s Mayor’s office. She also served as a NYS Assembly Intern with Assemblymember Arthur O. Eve). In this internship role, Bass worked on policy and inner-city issues. Bass is also a skilled chef and owns Golden Blessing Catering Service. She has used her cooking skills to Feed the Need by providing meals to homeless, seniors, individuals, and families in need of a healthy home cooked meal, and raise money for community events and BTGRO.


Bass possesses an associate degree in business administration from HVCC and an associate degree in project management from Mildred Elley. Bass aspires to start a consultation firm to empower and mentor BIPOC woman lead businesses and address equity and social justice issues. In 2021, Eva received a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from University South Florida (USF) Muma College of Business issued by USF Corporate Training and Professional Education.


Bass was born in Albany NY and raised in foster care system from 3-weeks to 12 years old.  She has lived independently since the age of 14. She is a childhood sexual violence survivor, and survivor of rape and domestic violence. She is a devoted mother of three children ages 21,18, and 15 years old and has one grandchild.


Community Leader ׀ Event Coordinator ׀ Survivor ׀ Entrepreneur ׀ Strategist ׀ Philanthropist ׀ Activist





Nathaniel Bray


Nathaniel Bray is a lifelong resident of Albany County. He is from a family of civil servants and always aspired to be in law enforcement. As a teenager his inquisitiveness led him to being an Explorer in the Colonie Police Department Explorers program.


Sergeant Bray is a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College and has a degree in Criminal Justice. Currently a Sergeant at the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, he began his law enforcement career as a deputy in 2016.


In 2018 he became the School Resource Officer for Berne-Knox-Westerlo and was the assistant lead advisor with the AC Sheriff’s Office Explorer program that inspired Sergeant Bray’s career. The program works with individuals aged 14-21 years old and aims to prepare them for a future career in law enforcement.


In 2020 he was promoted to Investigator and assigned to the Biased Crimes Unit until he was reassigned to the Criminal investigations Unit. 


In 2022 Nathaniel was promoted to the rank of Sergeant overseeing the School Resource Office division for the AC Sheriff’s Office.


Sergeant Bray is assigned as the Director of the Albany County Threat Assessment Coordination Team [AC-TACT]. The team was created with the mission of identifying and addressing threats in the region and creating an action plan for those individuals.


The goal is to “off-ramp” those possible violent offenders from a highway to violence and ensure that the region remains as safe as possible. This is done in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, public safety, public service entities, educational, religious, and private sector community stakeholders. 


Sergeant Bray’s love of the Albany area and dedication to public safety is the basis for his career in law enforcement and is what drives him to continually partner with the community to make it a better place. One of the community partners is ALERT where he remains a resource for us when needed.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Sergeant Nathaniel Bray as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.








J. David Brown


J. David Brown is currently the President / CEO of the Capital District YMCA where he has a 30 year career within the organization.


He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Robert Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in the Spring of 2005 from the State University of New York at Albany.


Mr. Brown is responsible for the supervision of 12 YMCA branches, 4 daycare centers, 2 camps, 2 housing corporations, and 60 childcare sites.


Throughout his career David has dedicated much of his time and effort to helping children and teenagers realize their potential as students and members of their communities.  Programs in youth athletics, education and mentoring, and leadership development have been advanced during his involvement.


He was a founding member of the committee to establish the Capital District YMCA Black and Latino Achievers Program in 2004. By hosting its Inaugural Banquet with the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King as the keynote speaker he brought validation and recognition to this program and the YMCA.


David Brown remains active in the region serving:

  • The City of Albany School District as a member of its Shared Decision Making Committee

  • The National Black Child Development Institute

  • As a board member of Association of YMCA Professionals (AYP)

  • The Alliance New York State YMCA’s, Inc. as Board Chairman

  • As a Trustee of Siena College

  • On the NBT Bank Advisory Board and currently serves on the NBT Bancorp Inc. Board of Directors

  • The Saratoga National Bank Regional Board

  • The Ellis Hospital Board of Directors

  • The NYS Governor’s Regional Economic Council

  • As past Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Council for the YMCA of the USA

  • The past chair of the YMCA of North America Network comprised of the top 70 YMCAs in North America


Among acknowledgments Mr. Brown has received are:

  • Being named to the 40 Under Forty Award by the Capital District Business Review and one of forty [40] Elite Alumni since 2000 out of 480 past recipients

  • He received the Capital District YMCA Presidents Award as Employee of the Year and the Community Service Award of his professional society

  • In 2006 and 2012 he was the recipient of the NY State Governor’s African American Community Distinction Award 

  • In 2013 Mr. Brown was recognized by Governor Andrew Cuomo receiving the NY State African American Public Service Award

  • In 2016 Mr. Brown received the prestigious Community of Excellence Award from the College of St. Rose


Mr. Brown is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In 2008 he was named Omega Psi Phi’s Citizen of the year and in 2012 Omega Psi Phi’s Man of the year. He has been a conference speaker at ALERT Partnership’s Community Leader and Law Enforcement Summit and a supporter of our mission.


J. David Brown lives in Guilderland, N.Y. with his wife and four children.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize David Brown as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.






Katharine (Clark) deVries


Known to her peers as “Katie,” Katharine graduated from Skidmore College in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and received her Master’s Degree from New York University’s School of Social Work in 2008. She became an LMSW shortly after.


Katies’ career in law enforcement began in 2008 as the Albany Police Department’s first Youth Aide. After nearly seven years in this position, she became the Department’s first Anti-Violence Coordinator.


During her career with the Albany Police Department, Katie is proud to have been able to serve the City of Albany by running their summer Cadet Program. She also assisted in the development and implementation of the young adult Cadet Program.


Katie provided case management services and service linkages to countless youth, young adults, and families. She also administered the development and implementation of the Handle With Care program with the Albany City School District.


She oversaw the implementation of the New York State Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) strategies alongside law enforcement and community partners.


In partnership with the LaSalle School, Katie created and implemented the Policing the Teen Brain program, training APD personnel. She also brought awareness to the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the importance of Engaging Traumatized Individuals.


Katharine has also served as Co-Chair for the Regional Youth Justice Team.


In June 2022, Katie joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York as the Community Outreach Coordinator. In her role, she is building bridges between her office and the communities of the 32 counties that it covers.


In her short tenure there, she is an important component in the launch of the United Against Hate initiative. She has joined Opioid/Substance Abuse Coalitions in 4 counties, and broadened the US Attorney’s Office’s participation in the ALERT Partnership.


She has had the pleasure of meeting many of the community’s leaders and representatives from organizations in the cities throughout the district.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Katharine “Katie” deVries as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder. 








Carmen “Coach Carmen” Duncan


Coach Carmen is a social entrepreneur, career and small business development coach, and dedicated Chief Coach and Founder of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, a non-profit community-based career education organization she founded in 2011.


The mission of the company is to prepare rising young professionals and entrepreneurs for the workforce by providing industry-specific coaching, mentoring and sponsorship. She has led the company to become one that is unapologetic about their priority being the advancement of young Black and Brown professionals and entrepreneurs while advocating for social, racial and economic justice within the workplace.


Coach Carmen truly believes that mentors, coaches, and sponsors are irreplaceable partners in the lives of young professionals and entrepreneurs as they navigate life's transitions.


The motivation behind the development of Mission Accomplishes’ career and small business development programs is the fact Coach Carmen received and continues to receive intentional mentorship and coaching from those who believe in her wild, bodacious entrepreneurial goals and life dreams!


She and her dedicated team remain focused on pairing those in low to middle income communities with influential industry professionals who have the power to break down barriers of entry to meaningful well-paying careers and thriving, revenue generating small businesses.


The team and stakeholders who support the mission have established a culture that motivates program participants to establish and achieve career, higher education and philanthropic goals while creating a community with a mindset of community collaboration over competition.


Coach Carmen and her team specifically work with people in or exploring careers in fashion, construction, interior design, interior decorating and mural painting. These creative trades were strategically chosen to highlight Black Indigenous People of Color’s (BIPOC) roles as the cultural architects of the United States while honoring our ancestral legacy of building and beautifying this nation.

Coach Carmen comes from two seemingly opposites worlds, the suburbs and the “hood.” She is a survivor of homelessness, and the impact of community substance abuse, street violence and family incarceration. She continues to thrive through the impacts of global racism.


At the young age of 16, Coach Carmen became homeless after the incarceration of three prominent individuals in her life. She recalls this being one of the darkest moments in her life. She felt lost, abandoned, and unsafe without her protectors readily available to care for her. Although this life experience created a dark moment, she was found by mentors who cared for her and helped her find stable housing, her voice and place in the professional world.


She credits much of her success to the support she received from mentors and family members, which led her to establish Mission Accomplished Transition Services.


She says, “I had to make this happen with much of my own money until people believed in me, the team, and the mission enough to take the risk and make an investment to help the company grow. I want to make sure we help people with a dream gain access to resources, so they do not have to defer their dreams! We believe in them and will invest in them BEFORE they get popular when people are unfortunately doubting and underestimating them.”


Since the founding of Mission Accomplished Coach Carmen, with the support and help of dedicated team members, has raised over $1.5 million dollars to develop and operate career and small business development programs for over 3,500 rising young professionals and entrepreneurs. This has created and sustained jobs for over 20 people who have worked for the company since 2015 and be a resource to the Capital Region of New York community.


Lastly, she has received several awards honoring her leadership. She was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Women’s Fund of the Capital Region Trailblazers awards luncheon with over 400 guests, the 2015 Black Women’s Association of Albany’s Women of Distinction awards luncheon with over 75 guests, in 2016 she was named 40 under 40 by Albany Business Review for her business acumen, leadership skills and community involvement.


Learn about Mission Accomplished Transition Services on Facebook and Twitter @misssacc12 and the website at . Connect with Coach Carmen on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin @CoachCarmen5,









Katie Flanigan


Kathleen Flanigan is from Wynantskill and a 1991 graduate of Troy High School.


As a junior at Troy High School, Katie was deeply impacted by the suicide of a friend. This changed the trajectory of her life, and she became committed to changing the lives of others.


Katie is a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College, SUNY Oswego, and has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany.


Kathleen Flanigan started her social work career in June 2000 with the Albany County Department of Mental Health’s (ACDMH) Mobile Crisis Team. During the aftermath of 9/11, she was one of ten employees from the department chosen to assist in NYC with various relief efforts. She became a supervisor at ACDMH’s short-term case management program and mental health clinic.


Katie has been a NYS Office of Mental Health consultant for DCJS general topics instructor for NY State Police since 2003.


In November of 2012, she returned to the Mobile Crisis Team as a supervising social worker. Through Katie’s work with the Mobile Crisis Team, she developed a strong passion for working alongside law enforcement and first responders, assisting those who were presenting with a behavioral health crisis. Katie now teaches at the Albany Police Department’s recruit academy and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office recruit academy.


In 2016, Katie began teaching Crisis Intervention Team training. In conjunction with the Albany Police Department, this 40-hour advanced mental health curriculum is taught twice a year to Albany County law enforcement agencies. To date, Albany County has trained approximately five hundred officers in Crisis Intervention Training.


In April 2021, Katie was promoted to a position as the Clinical Director of Emergency/Crisis Services and Training. In this position, she continues to oversee the Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) and in partnership with the Albany County Sheriff Departments EMS division, the Albany County Crisis Official Responding and Diverting (ACCORD) program.


Along with the training and in-services provided to various law enforcement agencies, Katie provides training on behavioral health related topics for various community agencies and partners. Katie has devoted her life and career to those in need and this is evidenced by her commitment to the field.


Katie feels that the partnership between law enforcement and the mental health system, providing education and training to first responders, is integral to securing better outcomes for those in crisis.


Katie resides in Delmar with her partner, Bill Minehan and their dog, Wally. Katie is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team International and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Katie Flanigan as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.








David E. Faggins-Flores


David Faggins-Flores is an Investigator in the Computer Forensic Laboratory for the New York State Police.


Born and educated in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, David is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.


David has been with the NYSP for seven (7) years.  From 2021 to 2022 he was part of the NY State Police Troop G’s, Recruitment and Community Outreach Team.  His goal was to engage with urban communities with the hope of increasing minority State Trooper recruitment.


He has used his position as a New York State Trooper to engage with and create community events in the Capital Region. Creating strong alliances within the community, he has gained the respect of those who have come to know him. His desire is to keep our youth engaged with their future endeavors, encouraging them to pursue their hopes and dreams.  


His love for basketball, DJ’ing, skiing, and outdoor sports has made him a passionate person. He uses these opportunities to connect with others when afforded the chance. He loves the cultural dish, “mofongo,” made of fried plantains, and chicharrón (crispy pork skin).


He serves our state and region with the hope of seeing justice and right actions prevail on all levels and within each community. His greatest desire is to see his children succeed in life and become all they were created to be.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize David Faggins-Flores as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.










Khalel “Nightwing” Hamlin


This universe’s Nightwing, also known as Khalel Hamlin, met Batman (Paul Collins-Hackett) through youth engagement they were both invested in. Nightwing worked as Batman’s partner in order to refine his skills of program development, effective public communication, and the mentorship of others. Nightwing continues to work with veteran heroes from different areas to make his own impact on the city.


Batman, as a part of his preparation, understood that he couldn’t be Batman forever. He needed others he trusted to take on his mantle and reach people in ways he couldn’t, ensuring the peace of the city in his absence.


Because of this, one of his efforts of succession led him to adopt sidekicks known as Robins. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, spent his time under Batman learning and understanding what kind of hero he wanted to be. When he was ready to leave the nest, he went out as a hero all his own, Nightwing.


Nightwing works as the Literacy Innovator at The RED Bookshelf  facilitating programs that include the Superhero Academy and Mind Your Business.


The Superhero Academy instructs elementary level scholars on the importance of civic engagement, social responsibility, and character development. Mind Your Business presents the opportunity for middle schoolers to start businesses around their passions considering financial literacy, public speaking, and entrepreneurship.


Nightwing serves as a board member of The Lincoln Park Alliance (LPA). The Lincoln Park Alliance engages citizens of the South End by providing updates on neighborhood efforts, activities, and restoration. The LPA hosts park clean ups, social gatherings, and bimonthly community meetings.


In all, Nightwing's goals are to support as many young people as possible in their journey of growth and provide creative opportunities for youth to develop skill sets! He has assisted ALERT in planning and implementing our vision to unify our region around our law enforcement engagement efforts.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Khalel “Nightwing” Hamlin as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.








John Theodore Harris

Lifelong Community Advocate Award


John Harris attended Albany Public Schools and is a graduate of the class of 1970 from Philip Schuyler High School. After graduation, John served our country honorably in the United States Air Force.


After his military career John earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University at Albany. He stepped into his calling when he started working in the Albany City School District as a Computer Teaching Assistant. He was promoted to the position of Home School Coordinator at Giffen Elementary and later at Albany High School until his retirement.


While Home School Coordinator at Giffen Elementary School, John developed the Family Resource and Support Center for students, parents, and community members. Through his success in the development and creation of the Resource and Support Center, his work was replicated throughout the Albany City School District.


At Albany High School, John created a mentoring program for students that focused on academics, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and taking pride in themselves and their community. After retirement from the Albany School system John volunteered and worked at the Schenectady City Mission’s Men’s Ministry and at St. Peter’s Hospital as a Behavioral Health Counselor.


John took great pride in his ability to work and collaborate with community organizations. This brought much needed resources to the children and families he served. He collaborated with numerous service providers, colleges, and community organizations allowing him to take a holistic approach to serving students and families.


Saying John was active in the community would be an understatement. In addition to being a supporter of ALERT’S police and community engagement efforts, he was a member of:

  • Albany Chapter of the NAACP

  • YMCA Black Latino Achievers Steering Committee

  • Collation of Black Trade Union (Capital District Chapter)

  • National Association of Black Social Workers

  • Board Member of Fathers Inc.

  • Board Member for Schenectady Youth Boxing

  • The Peaceful Warriors

  • President for the Albany, NY Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute.

  • Board President for Chocolate Thunder Marching and Dancing Band

  • Albany City School District Diversity Council

  • Past member of the Albany South End Action Committee.


Most important to him, John was a member of and an Ordained Deacon at the historic Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.


John Harris has received numerous awards that include the:

  • New York State Center for School Safety, Unsung Hero Award

  • Albany Chapter of the NAACP, Visions For Life Award

  • Vanessa Imelda Johnson, Community Mobilization Award

  • Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, You Make A Difference Award,

  • Urban Voices Community Collaborations Award

  • Johnson Communications Award for Community Service

  • Capital District YMCA Black Latino Community Partner award

  • SUNY NAACP Trailblazers award for community service


John enjoyed working with children and people who have become victims of society, especially those considered “vulnerable or at risk.” He adds, “I understand that it is only by the Grace of God, that I have been able to go through life’s obstacles and come out unharmed. Therefore, I have a responsibility to show others, that they too, can receive God’s Grace and know that All Things Are Possible if you only believe.”


John’s accomplishments only pale in contrast to the love he has for his wife Gail Harris who was his greatest supporter throughout their marriage.


He loved his family and will be forever cherished by his Loving Wife and Friend Gail for over fifty (50) years, their son David, and a host of community friends and colleagues.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize John Theodore Harris as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.









Brandon K. Hope


Brandon Hope was raised in Northern Virginia. He began his community service as a Volunteer Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician at the age of 16.


He attended Virginia Tech and served his community while a student. He organized community rehabilitation events and participated in various home rebuilding projects.


After graduation, Brandon became a police officer with the Prince William County Police Department. Four years later, he was hired as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, beginning his federal law enforcement career in Burlington, Vermont. His primary responsibility included investigating and preventing overdose-related deaths and poisoning.


In 2020, he was selected as a pilot in the DEA Airwing, and assigned to Albany, New York.


Over the past two years, Brandon has assisted ALERT with our Unite The City event as a strategic planner and helping with the event.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Brandon Hope as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.










Supt. McKinley B. Johnson Sr


Supt. McKinley Johnson was born in Albany NY almost 80 years ago to the late legendary religious Icon, Elder John “Jack” (better known as, “Brother Jack”) and Dorothy Johnson.


In 1957, during a revival at Wilborn Temple COGIC, Supt. McKinley had an earth-shaking spiritual awakening, which changed his life forever. He accepted the call to ministry and began to preach locally and around the state.


In the 1950’s Elder Johnson developed a 40-voice young adult Gospel choir for St Johns COGIC. He became the director of “the Commandos for Christ” for the Youth Circle. This was a youth organization founded in 1956 by his father. Elder McKinley was a street counselor for the “Young Life” youth organization. In 1971 he was appointed Director of Youth Activities for WNY #1 COGIC Jurisdiction.


Elder McKinley Johnson established in 1972 the “YOUTH EXPLOSION.” For more than twenty years it was one of the largest gatherings for Christian youth east of the Mississippi River. For (33) years the Youth Explosion brought together thousands of youths from across America.


Elder Johnson has traveled for over 50 years conducting revivals, and marriage seminars with his wife of 60 years. In 1957 Rev Johnson married his childhood sweetheart, “Lady Sue Johnson”.


In 1998, Elder McKinley was appointed the Northeast Regional Director for the International Youth Dept. for the COGIC. This region encompassed churches from Maine to Buffalo NY. 


In 2000, he became the Senior Pastor of St Johns COGIC. For forty-two years, he served faithfully behind his father, and as he often said, “He taught it until I caught it”. In 2004 Eld. McKinley was appointed the District Supt. for the NYS Western #1 Tech Valley District churches.

In 2001, Elder Johnson founded the St. Johns Community Development Corporation. It provided free lunches for the community, after school and mentoring services for school youth and a homeless prevention program.


On December 8, 2013, Supt Johnson led St Johns COGIC to their present location, to new Greater St Johns COGIC 74 Fourth Ave. Albany NY, a one level 9800 sq. ft. church family and community worship center.


Elder Johnson was employed by NYS as Supervisor of Volunteer Services for the Dept. of Corrections and Sr. Personal Administrator for The Division for Youth. He retired from NY State in 1991 to work full time for the ministry.


He graduated from SUNY of Albany with honors and continues to work towards his Master of Divinity degree at Mid-American Bible School of Theology in Schenectady, NY. He was one of ten persons chosen to represent Albany, NY at President Clinton’s Summit on Youth in Philadelphia, Pa.


He was instrumental in establishing The Albany African American Clergy United for Empowerment (AAACUFE) organization where he currently serves as President. The AAACUFE has been instrumental in facilitating peace during times of unrest in the city. He brings resources to the South End and bridges the gap between the church he pastors and the community he serves.


He is a Board member for several Community Organizations and the recipient of numerous community awards.


Superintendent McKinley Johnson is spirit-filled, deeply committed to humanity and community driven, and one of the greatest role models and mentors for men and fathers in the United States. He just wants to continue the spiritual and community legacy from his father and leave a mark on this generation to pave a brighter path for the next one!!


Along with Lady Sue Johnson they have six children, seventeen grandchildren, and seven greatgrandchildren.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to recognize Pastor McKinley Johnson as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.










Brandon Kayemba


A resident of the Capital Region, Brandon Kayemba resides in Albany NY. 


A graduate of Shaker High School, Brandon is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor’s Degree at St. John’s University, School of Law in Queens, NY.


Brandon has spent his young adult life accumulating knowledge so he can ultimately advance his goal of affecting change in the nation through the practice of law on the highest level possible. To achieve this end, he has been very active throughout his academic career, both in school and in the community.


Brandon is a graduate of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs Policy and the University at Albany with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and graduating with Magna Cum Laude Honors


In addition, he also received awards from:

  • Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Honor Society

  • Juneteenth Scholarship

  • Student Association Purple and Gold Leadership Award

  • Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society

  • Three-time recipient of the President’s Award for Leadership

  • Diversity Scholarship: Community Engagement in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

  • Three-time Dean’s List of Distinguished Students

  • Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society

  • Four-time Spellman Academic Achievement Award


In addition to being a Task Force member of ALERT Partnership, Brandon has interned with

  • Albany County District Attorney’s Office ,Albany, NY

  • New York State Senate Democratic Conference, Albany, NY

  • New York State Assembly, Albany, NY


Brandon is the proud member of the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated and was the Vice Polaris of the Gamma Psi Omega Alumni Chapter in Albany, NY.


Brandon served the Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence, University at Albany, and was a Campus Leadership Team Member. In this role, he reviewed the University’s Sexual Violence Response Policy and Community Rights Handbook for ambiguous language. He offered suggestions to the Title IX Coordinator on how handbook policies can be clarified.


He is the son of Kimberly Kayemba, the brother of Brandi Kayemba, and a faithful servant of Pastor David, having a strong working relationship since he was born through New Horizons Christian Church and through ALERT.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is honored to recognize Brandon Kayemba as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.












Vivian Kornegay was born in Halifax, VA, and is a long-time resident of Albany County growing up in the City of Albany, NY. She loves this place she calls home.


For over twenty years, Vivian has given her life over to public service, having a genuine interest in helping those in need. While others were asking the question, “Why don’t they do something?” Vivian’s response was “Who are we waiting for?” It is up to all of us to do our part wherever there is a need. We all have the ability to be the change.” This is true when it comes to the strained community and law enforcement relationships.


Among her community accomplishments, Vivian:

  • Served as a Councilmember for the City of Albany for the Second Ward

  • Served on the Board of Directors for Avillage, Inc. While there she created the “Black Doll Project,” asking friends and family members to donate Ethnic Dolls so that African American children could have a doll that represents their culture

  • She has worked with the Albany Police Chiefs on the Trauma Response Team. She also worked on Police Community Relations efforts led by former Albany Police Chief’s Steve Krokoff and Brendan Cox

  • She has worked with SNUG in the fight to end gun violence. This is a cause that she is still highly dedicated to


Vivian speaks at colleges, in prisons, and at community organizations, concerning the effects that gun violence and incarceration has on families and the community.


Vivian Kornegay is currently the supervisor of the Albany County Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Program referred to as “SHIP” in Albany. She believes it is an assignment, not a job. She enjoys working with the men in the program, understanding that each person has different needs and it’s her job to provide resources to meet those needs. She says, “Her joy is seeing them leave the program better than when they came in, replacing hopelessness with hope, determination, and success.”


Her personal mission is to do anything she can to make our world a better place. Her strong faith and the love and support of her family enable her to do the work she loves. The joy and satisfaction she get from helping others is always apparent.


She has attended ALERT’S Community Leader and Law Enforcement Summit, and has been a great advocate for stronger relationships in the city.


Vivian currently resides in Green Island, and is the mother of four adult children… three sons and one daughter. She has eight grandchildren and one great grandson. She says, “I always knew it was up to me to be the change. Ms. V


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Vivian D. Kornegay as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.








Timothy Patrick Leonard


For 23 years Tim Leonard was a member of the Albany Police Department (APD), joining the department in August 1993 as a Patrol Officer. He became a Detective in 1997.


In the days following the 9/11 Attacks, Tim worked alongside Special Agents from the Albany Field Office of the FBI and investigators from law enforcement agencies in and around the Capital Region. They covered leads associated with the attacks.


Tim eventually became the APD representative on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) for the Albany Field Office of the FBI.  He remained a member of the JTTF for fifteen (15) years.


Upon his retirement from the Albany Police Department in 2016, Tim joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a civilian role as the Albany Field Office Community Outreach Specialist (COS).


As the Community Outreach Specialist, Tim has maintained partnerships between the FBI and organizations, community groups, and residents within FBI Albany's area of responsibility. Tim is honored to be an employee of the FBI.


The partnership between FBI Albany and ALERT is extremely important and significant. Tim is appreciative of the recognition by Pastor Traynham and ALERT and is proud to join his fellow recipients for this year’s Community Bridge Builders Award.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Timothy Patrick Leonard as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder award recipient.








Lieutenant Michael Mabee


Michael Mabee is a twenty-five-year law enforcement veteran, serving with the New York State University Police since 1999.


Lieutenant Mabee oversees the agency’s recruitment efforts at the University at Albany and around the Capital District. His focus is on seeking candidates from underrepresented communities of color to diversify its police force.


Lieutenant Mabee serves on several committees, including the campus’s Climate Committee, and is the department’s liaison to the Education Opportunity Program (EOP).


Lieutenant Michael Mabee has received numerous awards and commendations including:

  • Police Officer of the Year Award

  • Professionalism Award

  • Community Award


In addition, Lieutenant Mabee has received the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA), Trilogy Award. The mission of FBI LEEDA is to advance the science and art of law enforcement leadership and promote the exchange of information to improve law enforcement management practice, through training, education, and networking among police professionals across the United States and beyond.


To earn the FBI LEEDA Trilogy Award. This award is presented to an individual who successfully completed the Supervisor Leadership Institute, Command Leadership Institute, and Executive Leadership Institute. These honorees have demonstrated a great commitment to leadership and to the communities they serve. 


These accomplishments have been a motivating force in Lieutenant Mabee’s life and career. Our city and region have benefitted from his commitment to serving us all with excellence.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to present Lieutenant Michael Mabee with the 2023 Albany Bridge Builder Award.





Curtis Rich


Curtis Rich was born and raised in Harlem, NY. He lived in the Saint Nicholas Projects for 17 years.  Known as “St. Nick” it had the reputation of being the most dangerous projects in New York City. 


Curtis was fortunate to attend Rice High School. Rice High was a private, all-black male school with the goal of educating its students on how to persevere through the challenges of life.


He attended the College of Saint Rose, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication.  From there, Curtis worked at the LaSalle School for boys, assisting them with the trauma that they experienced growing up.


His next journey brought him to the Department of State Corrections for eight (8) years where he helped prepare people who were incarcerated for a new role when they reentered society.


Curtis joined the New York State Police in 2016. Since then, he has obtained a wealth of knowledge and skills to better serve our communities.


During his tenure as a NY State Trooper, he became the Recruiter at the Troop G Command Post. His  assignment is to service urban communities in the Capital Region explaining the great opportunities there are for a career with the New York State Police. His desire is to make the agency more diverse and develop a blueprint for others to follow in the years to come.


Trooper Rich spends a lot of his time in underserved communities. He has been instrumental in assisting ALERT with our mission of engaging the community with the NY State Police and other police agencies.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Trooper Curtis Rich with the 2023 Albany Bridge Builder Award.









Patrick” Flay” Robinson


Patrick Robinson is known as “Flay” in the community and is a lifelong resident of Albany, New York.


He was educated in the Albany City School District. He is a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College with an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Human Services, and is a graduate of the University of Albany with a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Patrick dedicated his life to taking care of people. Patrick has been employed for over thirty years at Albany Medical Center Hospital. In addition, he has over twenty-five years of experience working with youth in the education field at the Lansingburgh Central School District, Vanderheyden Hall, Glenmont Job Corps and is currently employed in the North Colonie Central School District.


Patrick is a Community Activist and advocate. His accomplishments include:

  • Being co-founder Albany Concern Citizens, an action group formed in 2018 that held community meetings, marches, and rallies, denouncing gun violence in the City of Albany.

  • He spearheaded the rebirth of one of Albany’s oldest parks located in Arbor Hill which for years was void of any children and youth programming.

  • Being the proprietor of “The K.I.D.S Cafe” providing a safe space for our youth to interact with each other. This business also provided seasonal work opportunities for some members of the community.


Patrick was the driving force for officially renaming Arbor Hill Park to “Arbor Hill Sports Complex”. With help from the city and the community, the Arbor Hill Sports Complex serves hundreds of youths during the summer months with free youth activities including a basketball league, baseball league and adult and kids’ kickball. The Arbor Hill Sport Complex “committee” provides other activities and events all throughout the city such as Holiday Give-a-ways, annual Trunk or Treat events, personal hygiene drives, and more.


Patrick is a member of the Arbor Hill Sports Complex Advisory Board. Prior to that he was a board member for the American Little League for over a decade.


He is an example of what can be accomplished when you choose to be the solution to the problems that we face. His dedication to our city serves to make Albany safer and stronger.


ALERT has chosen to partner with Mr. Robinson and our Arbor Hill community. We envision our relationship growing and impacting many more residents in this underserved community through his great work.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Patrick “Flay” Robinson as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder award recipient.









Mark Bobb-Semple


Mark Bobb-Semple is a well-known community leader, activist, and family man with a passion for improving the quality of life in our inner-city communities.  He has dedicated over thirty-five years to the betterment of youth, teens and multiple generations of families, especially in the African American and Latino communities.  With his significant career with local organizations and businesses, Mark stayed focused, hardworking, and committed.


As the Artistic Director and Co-founder of the Urban Arts Experience, Inc. and the first African -American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Mark wants to expose our communities to all aspects of Arts, theater, entertainment, and culture. As the founder of Too Deep Entertainment, Mark has created, directed and produced over 30 plays.


After his education journey at Plattsburgh State University, Mark has had an impactful career with the SUNY Research Foundation, 15-LOVE Tennis Program, the Urban League of Northeastern NY, the Liberty Partnership Program, City of Albany Parks & Recreation, the Capital District YMCA, and The Albany Promise at the University at Albany.


Mark is currently the Community Liaison for Global Partners and the Albany High School JV Girls Basketball Head Coach. He also serves as a board member for the Albany Housing Authority, the Albany County Land Bank Corporation, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Area. Throughout his life as a student counselor, coach, theater director, board member, and community organizer, Mark has been consistently devoted and successfully made a difference in many lives in the Capital Region, especially the marginalized and underserved.


The brilliance of Mark Bobb-Semple is his sharp eye for recognizing talent in others and making things happen if he says he is going to do something – no matter how big or small.  He is a staunch proponent of education, a strong advocate for African-American and Latino families/students obtaining a college education and living a quality life; and Mark strives to educate and empower the community on various social issues and disparities confronting many of our families in need. 


Mark is very thankful for everyone who helped with his life and career and looks forward to assisting with future movements and endeavors.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Mark Bobb-Semple as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder recipient.









Jamel Smalls


Jamel Smalls is currently a Prevention Program Director with 4th Family Incorporated.


Having served twenty-three years in prison because of a bad choice he made in his teens, his desire is to inform and steer today’s youth away from making similar decisions.


While incarcerated he endured brutality and violence and spent more than two years in solitary confinement, yet he survived. During that time, he started a movement called “Cherish The Chance,” which is the foundation and bloodline of the 4th Family prevention program.


Since 2016 he has dedicated his life to sharing his experiences with the youth in our city. He shares the consequences of making the wrong choices, and the benefits of making the correct ones. 


In partnership with 4th Family, he is a mentor and runs programs for their middle and high school youth. He provides haircuts and gives speeches throughout the community.


Jamel believes that young people can be spared from the horror of incarceration if they have role models who reach them with truth. What is amazing is that Jamel did not become bitter because of his experience with the law. He owned up to his decision and became better so society can benefit from the knowledge he accumulated over the years.


He knows that the support of his loving wife Stacey and his beloved mother Desiree allows him to pursue his passion without guilt or regret.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Jamel Smalls as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder award recipient.







Casandra Deguire Walker


Casandra Deguire Walker is the Associate Director of Legislative Affairs, and the Capital District / Hudson Valley / North Country Regional Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the New York State Attorney General.


Casandra previously served as the Assistant Director of Correspondence and Public Information, and Community Liaison for the Attorney General, and has been with the office for nearly 11 years.  In addition to legislative work, Casandra covers the 19 counties that stretch from the Canadian border to Westchester County.


Casandra spent time living and studying in Ukraine and can communicate fluently in both Russian and Ukrainian languages. She was named to City and State Magazine’s 2019, “Albany 40 under 40 Rising Stars.”


She graduated from the University at Albany with a Master of Arts in Biological Anthropology and Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, and is a proud alumna of the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany.


As a lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Albany holds a special place in Casandra’s heart, and she is proud to be able to make a positive impact on the community.


Casandra currently lives in Maplewood with her sons Donovan, 17, and Dominic, 16.


Casandra is the liaison between the Attorney General’s office and ALERT and could be seen at our Unite The City events when her schedule allows.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Casandra Deguire Walker as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder










Justin Wallace


Justin Wallace is a Criminal Justice graduate from Hudson Valley Community College.


Officer Wallace is an experienced Police Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the law enforcement industry. He is skilled in Customer Service, Criminal Investigations, Public Safety, and Law Enforcement. She is a strong protective services professional with a licensed focus in Homeland Security from New York State Armed Security.


Justin joined the Albany Police Department as a Police Officer in 2010.  He is a community service officer and was a beat cop in Arbor Hill.  He worked as a Neighborhood Engagement Officer in Arbor Hill for four years and has been a Community Police Liaison since 2019.


As a member of the Neighborhood Engagement Unit, officer Wallace was the recipient of an award from the great folks at the Livingston School Apartments.


Justin believes that maintaining good relationships with residents helps them to feel more comfortable coming forward with information related to criminal activity.


Officer Wallace states, "In regard to standard patrol officers, most people don't feel comfortable walking up to a police car. However, being a Neighborhood Engagement officer, you can make personal contact with the residents and share contact information with them.”


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Justin Wallace as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.










Taylor Carey Warner

Taylor Carey Warner is a proud lifelong resident of Colonie.  She attended Colonie Central High School and later graduated from Siena College with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. 


Taylor attended the Zone 5 Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2015 and joined the Colonie Police Department in 2016. Taylor is a certified School Resource officer, D.A,R.E. officer, and Child Safety Seat technician.


Officer Warner is assigned to the department’s Community Services unit where she is the liaison between ten (10) schools in the town and is responsible for teaching D.A.R.E. classes to 5th grade students. Her passion is connecting with the community in ways beyond traditional police work, through her D.A.R.E. classes, various community service events, and the department’s Explorer Post. 


Community events she organized include a Family 5K / Fun Run, Community Night Out, Bowling, and Car Seat Checks. By connecting with the community in these ways, it helps strengthen the bond and trust between the public and the police department. Taylor feels that this has been the most rewarding part of her career thus far. 


Officer Warner is looking forward to further strengthening her community bond in 2023 by continuing to engage the residents by hosting more community events. She states, “It is a true honor to have been nominated and selected for this award through the ALERT partnership and she is beyond grateful.”


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Taylor Carey Warner as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.









Arlene Way


Arlene Way is a native of Harlem, a Citizen of the City of Albany and she lives, works, and worships in the community she serves - Arbor Hill.


Arlene is the Executive Director of the Arbor Hill Development Corporation (AHDC), a Neighborhood Preservation Company serving “Communities of Promise” in the City of Albany, embracing Arbor Hill, North Albany, Sheridan Hollow, West End and West Hill.


Prior to joining the team at AHDC, she served as a Program Officer with the New York State Education Departments Office of Higher Education. There she managed the Liberty Partnerships Program, Liberty Partnerships Program which is a pre-collegiate, school dropout prevention program and a statewide initiative preparing students in grades five (5) through twelve (12) for post-secondary education and the workforce.


Arlene is a member of the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations and Chair of the Albany NAACP Committee for Economic Development and Community Development. Through her work with the NAACP, she is collaborating with the Central Avenue and Downtown Business Improvement Districts to deliver the Small Business Vitality Program. This is an ARPA-Funded initiative providing financial and technical assistance to small and minority-owned businesses affected by covid, and new entrepreneurs. She also collaborates with the NYS Department of Civil Service, Office of Diversity & Inclusion Management to create a pipeline to careers in government.


She is President of the Scholarship Ministry at the Metropolitan NTM Baptist Church, a member of the Advisory Board for the Community School Program at the Tony Clement Center for Education, and a Trustee for the Albany Public Library System. She is driven by a personal commitment to serve.


Arlene has supported ALERT'S initiatives over the years and helped develop some of the policies that govern our school interactions. For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Arlene Way as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder award recipient.







Richard L. Williams


Richard Williams has a unique story. Like others, the streets were his tutor until he turned his life around.


Richard started running the streets and getting into trouble at seventeen years old. As a member of the Bloods Gang and selling drugs, he received three State Prison bids. His last prison term was a conspiracy case referred to as “Operation Blood.” The result was that he was among forty-two (42) people sentenced to prison.


During that time, he made the choice to change. He pursued and received his General Equivalent Development Diploma, “GED.” He also made the choice to separate himself from people who were not intentionally trying to make themselves better. When he was released from prison in 2017 Richard made the necessary steps to rebuild what he helped to destroy in the nation.


Richard began volunteering wherever he could. That journey landed him in a position with 518 SNUG. There he developed skills that assisted him in dealing with trauma in early childhood cases.  He submitted to instruction and training. This allows him to get to the root of problems and recognize answers that assist his clients and gives them a greater quality of life.


With the knowledge and training Richard received he is now instrumental to family court as a Juvenile Drug Court Youth Counselor.


Richard has become a bridge between youth and the court system. He facilitates communication between both, focusing on the trauma a person goes through.  Partnering with Crossgates Mall, he is also a Community Mall Engagement Specialist. You can see him on Friday’s and Saturday’s engaging our youth and helping Mall Security and upper Staff to de-escalate situations between the youth and staff or youth against youth.


For these reasons and more, ALERT is proud to honor Richard L. Williams as a 2023 Albany Bridge Builder.








New York State Police

Law Enforcement Champion Award


Since 2014, ALERT has been bringing law enforcement together with community members to foster greater understanding and a peaceful region.


With this objective our mission of engagement includes thirteen (13) law enforcement agencies and a community who we are educating to influence how they perceive a law enforcement agency and the authority they have in any given jurisdiction in the region.


During this time, in 2015 we began a partnership with the Troop G Headquarters of the New York State Police. Troop G serves the counties of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and seven other counties.


Established in 1917, the New York State Police proudly serves, protects, and defends the people of New York, while preserving the rights and dignity of all.


Integrity, respect, customer service and leadership are the foundations they continue to build upon in order to serve to the best of their abilities.


In building our relationship with the NY State Police, being a progressive entity, they have gone through several leadership changes.


Initially, in 2015 Troop G Commander Bill Keeler heard and welcomed the vision of ALERT. He immediately set up meetings and tours of the headquarters and gave us insight into how the State Police operates. After thirty years as a State Trooper, Bill retired from the NY State Police. Shortly after his retirement in 2019 Bill Keeler ran for and became the Mayor for the City of Cohoes, a position he still holds.


Upon Mr. Keeler’s retirement, in 2017 Commander Robert Patnaude continued assisting us with our community engagement efforts until R. Chris West was appointed as Commander of Troop G in June of 2020.

Commander Chris West took the “baton” and expanded the base of our community engagement efforts at the NY State Police, ensuring that the mission of ALERT would continue in our region. He assigned specific Troopers that we could reach out to at any given time while still making himself available to Pastor David and our team. In March of 2022, Commander West was promoted to Assistant Deputy Superintendent – Chief of Staff at the NY State Police.


In 2022 Richard O’Brien assumed the role of Commander at Troop G. He further expanded the engagement efforts of the Troop G Division of the NY State Police. He incorporated more community involvement into their efforts and, held college recruitment sessions at the headquarters and became even more active in our community engagement efforts. With added tours of Troop G headquarters and the Rifle Range, Commander O’Brien expanded the knowledge base of ALERT allowing us to better relay these operations to the residents of Albany.


In January of this year, Dennis Schager assumed the role of Troop G Commander. Since his time in this position, he has continued to support our community engagement efforts. He has attended our Improving Your Quality of Life events and ensured that our vision to make our region better, stronger, and safer continues with the help of the NY State Police.


Troop G of the NY State Police has undoubtedly been a great support, given a wealth of information, and supported the community engagement efforts of ALERT in exceptional ways.


The State Troopers that we have had the pleasure of working with are too numerous to name in this short space. However, they are made up of the Troop G First Sergeant, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Recruitment, and the Troop G State Troopers including the Zone Commanders from Zones 1 and 4.


For these reasons and more, ALERT Partnership Inc is proud to recognize and honor Troop G of the NY State Police for their Community Engagement efforts.








Harding and Mazzotti, LLP

ALERT Community Champion Award


The Harding and Mazzotti Law Firm was founded in 1994. For almost thirty (30) years they have represented countless residents seeking justice from injury law cases.


Their motto has always been “When given the choice, choose kindness.” This was evidenced in 2019 when Pastor David was introduced to Supervising Attorney, Dan Dagostino.


Since that time, Dan Dagostino and the Harding and Mazzotti Law Firm has been an encouragement and support of the community and law enforcement engagement efforts of ALERT.


Most people are aware of the philanthropic efforts of the Firm. However, with ALERT, they have been instrumental in our progress. They have helped position us to expand our efforts beyond the borders of the Capital Region ensuring that as we continue to develop, that our progress will not be difficult. In our early dialogue, Dan stated that, “If we build the proper foundation, the structure of the organization will be easier to sustain and grow.” This is proving to be true.


Harding and Mazzotti have been strong supporters and sponsors of ALERT. They have been an advising voice for our board. And during social unrest in 2020, here in Albany they supported our peaceful efforts at the MVP Arena. When we brought community leaders and ten (10) law enforcement agencies together to have a dialogue about the unrest the nation was experiencing they stood strong. They continued to build bridges even during the time when the COVID Virus was at its height,


When ALERT was given the opportunity to gain national exposure in Washington, DC, in December of 2022 they sponsored Pastor David’s trip so he could participate in the Investiture of the Appeals Court Justice for Military Affairs, Grant Jaquith.

Harding and Mazzotti, LLC has been chosen as our ALERT Community Champion because of their ability to see where ALERT was heading and not where we were at the time they were introduced to us. They didn’t consider the limited resources and the struggles we faced. Instead, they “rolled up their sleeves” and considered how they could help make the vision we had to make our nation better, become a reality.


They are an example of the countless number of other people and organizations who have assisted us since 2014, whether on our Board of Directors, our Task Force, participating community organizations, or the law enforcement agencies we partner with. They understand that if our communities are going to be stronger, safer, and better, it will take mutual efforts by our residents, businesses, organizations, and law enforcement. They know that ALERT provides these opportunities to engage these entities.


In their generosity, Harding and Mazzotti believe strongly in giving back to as many neighbors as possible. In addition to ALERT, their outreach programs have helped over one thousand (1,000) young drivers take the next step towards being safe licensed drivers.


They have provided several thousand free cab rides home, helped hundreds of animals become adopted through local shelters around the capital region, provided thousands of free bike helmets to our communities, and more.


Recently, the ALERT Board of Directors was honored to unanimously confirm Dan Dagostino of the Harding and Mazzotti Law Firm as their latest Board member.


For these reasons, and many more ALERT is proud to recognize Harding and Mazzotti, LLP as our 2023 Community Champion Award recipient.

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