Community Conversation Series



April Discussion Theme: Race & Community Policing

The evening will begin with a panel discussion featuring two members from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) as well as area criminal justice activists. LEAP is a nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals and advocates with the mission to unite and mobilize the voice of law enforcement in support of drug policy and criminal justice reforms that will make communities safer.

The program is intended to inform people of alternative approaches to criminal justice and policing while bringing race and racism to the forefront of the conversation. Retired Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues of the New York City Police Department, and current Chief of Police Peter Volkmann of the Chatham Police Department, will be among the panelists. 


Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues (Ret) – NYPD – New York, NY

In 1987, Corey Pegues began his career as a Combat Medic for the U.S. Army. In 1991, he enlisted in the New York National Guard where he also served as a combat medic. Following 14 years of service, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army and he became a patrol officer for the New York Police Department. He was assigned to the 114th Precinct in Astoria, Queens. Pegues rapidly advanced through ranks of the N.Y.P.D. as a sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. In 2008, he was elevated by the Police Commissioner to Deputy Inspector of the 67th Precinct. He retired from the N.Y.P.D. in March 2013 after 21 years in uniform. Upon retirement, Pegues authored a memoir entitled Once A Cop – The Street, The Law, Two Worlds, One Man, which chronicled his career in the N.Y.P.D. He has appeared in numerous media outlets including C.N.N., M.S.N.B.C., C.S.P.A.N, and N.P.R. He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and holds a B.S. in Organizational Management, a M.P.S. in Criminal Justice Leadership from St. John’s University, and a Postgraduate Certificate from the Police Management Institute at Columbia University, School of Business. For five years, he taught as an adjunct professor at Monroe Community College. 

Chief Pete Volkmann – Chatham Police Department – Chatham, NY

Peter Volkmann began his law enforcement career in 1986 as a patrol officer for the Ossining, N.Y. Police Department. In 1994, he became a Clinical Director with the Hudson Valley Critical Incident Stress Management Team and provided psychological support services for police officers, firefighters, and E.M.S. workers. In 1997, he was elevated to President of the Hudson Valley Critical Incident Stress Management Team and retained the position for two years, later becoming the U.N. Representative for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (I.C.I.S.F.). Upon retirement from the Ossining Police Department in 2006, Volkmann moved to Stuyvesant, New York, and became a firefighter with Stuyvesant Fire Company. He would go on to earn the Columbia County Firefighter of the Year Award in 2014. He was later a commander in the Stockport, New York, Police Department for four years before assuming his current role as the Chief of the Chatham Police Department. As Chief, he has built a reputation based upon community engagement. He has created policy initiatives including as the “Your Cop” program, which has police officers meet and stay in regular contact with residents of assigned neighborhoods, and the “Chatham Cares 4 U” (C.C.4.U.) Initiative, which provides transportation and treatment for residents suffering from opioid addiction. Volkmann holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Mercy College, a M.S.W. from Fordham University, and is a certified E.M.T. He is an active member of the Stuyvesant, Volunteer Fire Company and has appeared in numerous media outlets including Dateline N.B.C., Discovery Channel, and M.S.N.B.C.

“Conversations to Build An Inclusive American Community” is a monthly discussion series in which our community’s brightest thinkers articulate their perspectives on important civic issues. The goal is to catalyze fresh thinking by bringing together people from a wide range of fields to share a conversation that is respectful, deep, empowering and unique.

The curator and sponsor of this series is In Our Name Initiative, an organization dedicated to civic learning and legislative action for social, economic and criminal justice matters. In Our Name is a component of the Skidmore College Project on Restorative Justice, a national thought and training organization dedicated to the work of reconciling victims and offenders and finding more constructive ways to deal with crime and punishment.

MLK Saratoga shares Dr. King’s vision of peace and justice for all. We work toward this vision by promoting racial, social, economic, and climate justice. We use Performance, the Arts and Dialogue to create new ways of understanding and to build a more unified, inclusive community that is truly safe and just.