Theatre Albany has been part of this community since 1932. Its location is in a part of town that is not typically treaded in late at night, but the performances over the years has brought out many who would otherwise keep their distance. Over the last 25 years, this has been easier due to additional security provided by mounted security.
This additional security consists of retired veterans of the Albany Police Department’s mounted patrol. They provide a valuable service to the theater. That’s why I was troubled to learn that Saturday night, a current member of the Albany Police Department had crossed the line.
One of the mounted security officers was directing traffic in order to allow people to cross the street to get to their vehicles. One vehicle in particular had to stop an Albany Police Department car with a young officer inside.
The mounted man was told by this public servant that he was not to direct traffic and that people would have to walk to the corner and cross there, despite the fact that their cars were directly across from the theater. This officer even said that if he got a complaint (late at night in a non-residential neighborhood) that he would return and write a ticket.
Of course, I’m sure the theater folks would love to know where this brave officer was at when the theater’s doors had their leaded glass smashed open, then the doors ripped open earlier the same week. Luckily, the theater was only out some wine as opposed to any of the myriad of other things they could have lost, but that was beside the point.
This officer’s attitude, as reported to me by a veteran of that same department, was inexcusable. It wasn’t that this retired officer was directing traffic to help people reach their cars in safety that was the problem I’m sure, but the fact that this current officer had to wait a fraction of a second before he sped on down the street at breakneck speed and reportedly almost hitting the second horse and rider.
As the son of a police officer, I tend to be pretty sympathetic towards the boys in blue. I’ll be the very first to say that this particular officer’s behavior is not the norm. However, I’ve known both of the mounted security people for many, many years. I trust their word on what happened.
On one hand, people complain about how little support exists for so much that goes on downtown. On the other, you have someone like this that seems to do nothing more than make it difficult for people to do just that. His attitude was disgusting.
Someone once described the perfect way for a police officer to act as “being nice until it’s time to not be nice.” This officer clearly missed that. While it would be easy to blame Chief John Proctor for this, he honestly can’t know what every officer is doing at every point in the day. However, it’s my sincere hope that he learns of this incident and makes an effort to correct this. There’s no excuse for it.