Craig D. Apple Sr., Sheriff
16 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207
The Albany County Sheriff’s Office has often been known for its community engagement efforts in the rural areas of Albany County and at the Albany County Correctional facility. Although they have always been involved in the City of Albany, more recently we have seen an emphasis on community engagement here.
Here are a few opportunities they are affording the residents of the city and county that will give greater understanding of their efforts and an opportunity for engagement.
1] The Sheriff’s Community Relations Unit acts as a liaison with local governments and the communities they serve to strengthen our relationship and increase public awareness about current social issues.
The Community Liaison Officer attends community events, visits schools and senior citizen groups, and participates in educational forums and community events.
The current Community Liaison Officer also represents the agency in the Albany Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion [LEAD] program, the LEADERship anti-gang and anti-violence program, and attends monthly town board meetings and heroin town hall meetings.
The liaison coordinates agency resources and services to best support community needs and events. This includes assets such as the School Resource Officers, Stop DWI Program, Explorer Post, and investigative units.
Having a consistent, centralized contact for the community has strengthened the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the public. It provides a direct line of contact for non-emergency questions and concerns while enhancing the amount of positive contact that the Sheriff’s Office has with the community. This increases the amount of information that is shared on a variety of topics.
For more information on the many units which compose the Sheriff’s Office and the valuable services and programs available, please visit the Sheriff’s website or contact the Sheriff’s Community Liaison Officer, Investigator Amy Kowalski at (518) 655-7958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2] The Sheriff’s Office seeks to reduce criminal activity by addressing its root causes and thereby reducing recidivism and preventing illicit behavior before it happens. This ultimately improves quality of life and the overall health and safety of the community at large.
The unique nature and mandate of the Sheriff’s Office allows it to reach all facets of our society including those who are incarcerated and may otherwise not benefit from community programs available to others. To this end, the Sheriff’s Office administers a multitude of programs which are supported by all divisions including Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Emergency Medical Services.
The Sheriff’s Heroin Addictions Recovery Program (SHARP) helps guide members of the community who are currently incarcerated in the county correctional facility and has the desire to live a drug free lifestyle and regain control over their lives. It provides critical resources that are needed to continue recovery long after being released from jail. A dedicated housing unit has been constructed that supports a group effort of achieving their common goal of recovery from opioid addiction.
This initiative is supported by other efforts such as the Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program, which enables people to continue their counseling and avoid any incarceration related interruption to their medically assisted recovery efforts. It provides links to resources and post release services such as housing, treatment, and medical needs.
3] The Sheriff has started a variety of new initiatives to further support the community as well as individuals who will be reentering the community after incarceration.
Among those is the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Program (SHIP) which is a unique effort by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office designed to repurpose underutilized correctional space and use as respite housing for our local homeless and un-domiciled population, for whom traditional shelter placement is not a safe or appropriate option.
To address the growing call for increased mental health services at the time of incidents, the Sheriff’s Mental Health Assessment Response Team (SMART) is developed in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Emergency Medical Services Unit. It provides immediate access, including remote or electronic, for victims in crisis, to access medical health professionals during a police response.
Supporting this is the Albany County Crisis Officials Responding and Diverting (ACCORD) program. The ACCORD program enables a Sheriff’s Dispatcher to triage calls and when applicable, dispatch an EMT and a social worker to qualifying calls that involve non-violent circumstances.
This unit responds to and assesses the situation and provides immediate stabilization. In cases of urgent medical need or psychological crisis, they provide information, referral, advocacy, when warranted transportation to treatment.
Members of the community are encouraged to share this information with others whom they feel may benefit, thereby helping eliminate the stigma and silence associated with addiction and mental health issues, which too often serve as barriers to seeking help.