TROY, N.Y. -- If you live in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, you may have received this flyer in the mail from a research firm this past week asking you to go online and complete an anonymous survey about police services in your community.
With Troy community-police relations labeled as 'strained' in the past, TWC News showed the flyer and the questions to Troy Police Chief John Tedesco to hear what he thought.
"I think, initially, police departments are gonna have a hard time looking at themselves and what people really think," Tedesco said.
In an effort to have the tri-city police departments operate proactively, the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety sent out a flyer this week, asking residents to partake in an anonymous survey to understand what has formed your view of the people in blue.
"Judgements about police officers and how they work in their neighborhoods are based on a lot of social contexts, upbringings [and] experiences, and it goes beyond a person's experience with a police officer," Finn Institute Research Analyst Caitlin Dole explained.
Funded by the state through the 'Gun Involved Violence Elimination Initiative' or 'GIVE,' the survey asks 36 questions. Among them: How do you really feel about your police department? Are they fair? Respectful? Do you trust the police?
Dole added, "That's the big concern in the country and statewide: Are police honest? Are they tending to the concerns of the people? Are they really community servants or are they out there for a paycheck?"
For Tedesco, the survey is a great tool to measure how communities vary in their safety concerns; however, he is also hesitant about actually believing the accuracy of the results.
"My problem is with the keyboard cowards," Tedesco said, "everyone that knows how to do policing better than we do, that are constantly critical no matter what it is we do, and really don't understand the actions that we take."
While he is confident the public will be open with their experiences online, he hopes this will be taken into account, too.
"Please be honest, and if you've been told something that has happened to someone else, please don't let that affect your decision," Tedesco said. "There's two sides to every story."
At the end of the survey, you are asked to list the street you live on and the closest cross street. The Finn Institute assures the public that there is no way they can cross-reference the results to try and figure out who took the survey, because their internal review board assures total anonymity.
The results of the surveys will be posted on www.finninstitute.org in the next three to four weeks.