In acknowledgement of and solidarity with the ongoing national Movement for Black Lives and the local work of Troy 4 Black Lives, Troy DSA is forming a #DefundTroyPD working group. Our members and our partners are dedicated to transforming public safety in Troy and Rensselaer County away from policing and toward the values of strong community accountability, anti-racism, restorative justice, and non-violent intervention.

Our understanding of the police begins in two places: first, recognizing that policing in America is an activity of the state that disproportionately harms people and communities of color; and second, that policing under capitalism is expressly intended to benefit property holders, not working people. Therefore, in our organizing and in the reforms we advocate for, we center anti-racist and anti-capitalist practices. We recognize that the changes to policing most worth advocating for should transform the everyday lives of those most harmed by policing right now. Our framework is fundamentally abolitionist, meaning that we aim to live in a world and a community without police, and we will take steps to defund, hold accountable, and re-assign resources from police in Troy to other efforts that promote community well-being, trust, and safety.

We take Troy 4 Black Lives’ demands to be the absolute minimum necessary to be accomplished in the short term, before the Governor’s far-away April 2021 deadline for a police reform plan. We wish to expand on Troy 4 Black Lives’ ideas and ideals: we also believe in building community, solidarity, and trust with those most affected by current policing conditions, and identifying the aspects of policing in Troy most ripe for change. We are dedicated to enabling a shifting of power away from the police and toward community self-regulation and support. While we recognize that this will, in part, need to happen with the present legal system, we want to also build up new and existing social structures and community organizations outside the state to replace current police activities.

We are therefore beginning by using the legal tools at our disposal to obtain information on Troy PD which should have always been public: officers’ personnel records. As detailed in our initial press release, “Troy DSA intends to release the city’s responses to these information requests in full to the general public as part of a broader effort to bring long overdue reform to the Troy Police Department.” We will be using this information, as well as other public records, along with individual testimonies and community consultation, to understand exactly how Troy PD has managed to claim such a large share of the city’s budget, and how to reverse course. 

We ask for nothing less than a future Troy where its residents know the city invests in them, rather than in policing them to death and then hiding the evidence.