Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff was surprised to find out that his officers have conducted some 655 strip searches dating back to January of 2009, says the Albany Times Union. In an editorial, the newspaper says outrage is in order when strip searches that so frequently turn up nothing appear to be little more than routine harassment of black and Hispanic suspects from certain neighborhoods.
At least in Albany the strip searches are recorded, and the police department responded (as the law requires) to fair questions raised about its policies. Other police agencies — ranging from the State Police to small municipal departments — don’t track either how often they resort to such aggressive techniques or what compels them to do so. Certainly the minimal scrutiny Albany applies needs to be extended throughout the region and the state.In Albany, it’s also much too common for strip searches to take place at locations other than a police station. Twenty-two percent of them, records show, were ordered by the police at private addresses. In some cases, everyone present — not just those the police had reason to regard as criminal suspects — was ordered to strip naked. The question, of course, is why? Only 108 of those 655 strip searches in Albany found any contraband.