Residents chat with APD Chief Persley at forum - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Residents chat with APD Chief Persley at forum

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley met face to face with community members Thursday night to address their questions and concerns. (Source: WALB) Albany Police Chief Michael Persley met face to face with community members Thursday night to address their questions and concerns. (Source: WALB)
Maria Daniels (Source: WALB) Maria Daniels (Source: WALB)
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley (Source: WALB) Albany Police Chief Michael Persley (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley met face to face with community members Thursday night to address their questions and concerns.

Many of those questions related to how officers deal with people with mental health problems.

"What's the difference in obstruction of law enforcement and aggravated assault," remarked Maria Daniels. 

Daniels, 62, was the first to throw out a question to the chief.

"Whether the person used a weapon or something that could cause serious bodily injury," replied Persley.

A critical response to Daniels given that her son, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, recently had a run in with the police.

"Nothing happened fatally and I think they handled it quite well," said Daniels.

Chief Persley wants to make sure the problems that plague many departments, don't impact APD.

"I just wanted to commend you once again and your department," said Daniels.

Daniels was grateful that the force is prepared to deal folks like her son.

"The good thing is that that's something that we've recognized," said Persley.

57 percent of his officers have crisis intervention training to handle such mental health cases.

"They can identify somethings and help diffuse the situation," said Persley.

Diffusing situations that kept Daniels' son alive.

"For me it's rewarding because then I have a sense of you know my community is doing something," said Daniels.

And Daniels is part of making the community better

APD plans to add a youth component to their crisis intervention training.

If you missed the public forum tonight, there will another one next quarter.

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