Conflict resolution center coming to Albany

Albany Police Department Chief Michael Persley addresses Albany city commission members on Tuesday.

ALBANY – If neighbors or couples have issues that could escalate, there soon will be a place in Albany where they can get help burying the hatchet without resorting to an actual hatchet.

Albany Police Department Chief Michael Persley announced during Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting that a man who has started a similar center in New Jersey is behind the effort.

“The intent is to ward off violent conflict,” Persley said.

Two local faith-based groups are assisting with the project. One of those will provide the facility, and the other will staff the center.

“There will be trained counselors,” the police chief said.

The idea is that anyone having a conflict can come in to get help resolving issues before they escalate or turns violent.

“It’s something I fully support,” Persley said during an interview following the meeting. “It’s all along the line with intervention and prevention.”

That’s good for police because solving problems and heading off escalation means less violent crimes they have to investigate. Local officials recently have discussed bringing together members of rival gangs to work out a truce.

The conflict resolution center is not necessarily the venue for that effort, Persley said.

“It can be family, it could be a domestic violence situation,” he said. “Anybody who has a conflict with anyone, they can go to the location.”

The center is expected to open in the fall or early winter.

Persley also gave an update on several recent code enforcement cases that resulted in one house being renovated and two demolished.

Vacant homes can attract criminals, and their appearance can be unsettling to people walking by or living in the area, he said.

“Once you start to address these eyesores and clean them up, it can pay some huge dividends,” Persley said.

The APD chief also reported to commissioners that in 83 percent of entering-auto cases between May 29 and Sept. 8, the victim’s car was unlocked. The police department advises people to secure cars and not leave anything valuable in sight in the interior.

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