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Police calls to children's home more than double in 2 years

Police calls to children's home more than double in 2 years

'Juvenile incidents' and 'get a report' top reasons for visits
Police calls to children's home more than double in 2 years
Northeast Parent and Child facility at 122 Park Ave. in Schenectady.
Photographer: Daily Gazette file photo

SCHENECTADY — Police calls to a local children's home have increased markedly in recent years, and a city councilman is asking why.

Councilman Vince Riggi asked for the report on the number of calls to the Northeast Parent and Child facility at 122 Park Ave. That report showed a jump in calls from 135 between Jan. 1 and July 1, 2014, to more than 400 over the same period both this year and in 2016.

The top reason listed for police calls this year was "get a report." Those calls totaled 201. That was also the second-highest reason cited for calls in 2016: a total of 167 for that purpose last year.

The most common reason for police response to the facility last year was "juvenile incident," which garnered a total of 201 police visits. That was second most-common reason for police response this year, with 139 such calls.

Police responded to 107 "juvenile incidents" at Northeast Parent and Child in 2015 and 79 in 2014, along with 80 responses for "get a report" in 2015.

Riggi said he requested the numbers after hearing about a greater number of police responses from a resident who lives near the facility. He said he was surprised to see the jump and wants to discuss it with the mayor or with the city's public safety committee.

"Something's amiss when the calls double in 2016 and 2017," Riggi said. "At some point, the city administration has to have a sit-down with them and try to work something out, because this is costing taxpayers a lot of money."

The head of the home's parent organization, Northern Rivers Family of Services, said in a prepared statement that they regularly look at trends and work with police.

Staff at the Park Avenue facility are "specially trained to deal with the special needs of our youth," organization CEO Bill Gettman said. "However, in matters of safety and emergency care — either physical or emotional — that require outside assistance," they ask for it.

In many cases, Gettman said, regulations mandate notification.

"We closely monitor trends, looking at the root causes and exploring ways to work with and train our staff to minimize the impact of those issues that are not beyond our control," Gettman said in the prepared statement. "We work closely with the Schenectady Police Department to reduce the number of calls for intervention, and we appreciate their help and support in these matters."

According to the police department's numbers, from Jan. 1 to July 15 each year, police received 135 calls for service in 2014; 227 in 2015; 427 in 2016 and 406 in 2017. 

Outside of "juvenile incident" and "get a report," no other call descriptions exceeded 18 in any given year.

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