Ministers support police chief - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ministers support police chief

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July 18, 2007

Albany - - Some Albany ministers stand behind Albany Police Chief James Younger. He heard harsh criticism from some city leaders upset over the resignation of SWAT team members.

Younger's critics say he doesn't communicate well with other law enforcement agencies, the media, or the public.

Two dozen ministers disagree. 

They met with Chief Younger to hear his frustrations and show their support for him. One of those ministers, Rev. Lorenzo Heard of Greater 2nd Mt. Olive Baptist Church, told us Younger told the group he was strengthening requirements to be on the SWAT team.

Heard believes some of the SWAT members who resigned may have perceived that as a threat.

"We don't know if they're still psychologically sound, we don't know their past if there's a lot of aggression or even unnecessary aggression. He wants to look at that and these men didn't appreciate it, didn't want it so they quit so they quiet. Listen, don't spend your time on the quitters. Invest your time in finding winners and that's how I take it," Heard says.

The members who resigned say they had questions about command decisions and the management of the SWAT team.

During Tuesday's city commission meeting Younger implied that criticism of him could be racially motivated. Heard told us he can understand that feeling.

He also says the fact that 30 officers showed up for SWAT team tryouts Wednesday shows they have confidence in Younger's leadership.

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