Why rush important decisions about policing?

Published: 5/6/2021 12:00:34 PM Should the many recommendations of the Policing Review Commission in Northampton be seriously consi...



Published: 5/6/2021 12:00:34 PM

Should the many recommendations of the Policing Review Commission in Northampton be seriously considered? Absolutely.

Clearly, there are a number of new approaches to addressing the safety needs of people in our community that should be fully explored. However, aren’t calls to substantially cut the police budget even further premature?

Isn’t there more data that we need, such as how many police calls are there by category and which ones should be answered by the police or other staff, etc.? And what about other questions related to the programmatic and budgetary advantages and disadvantages of a separate Community Care Department?

Given the common “silo” behavior in many organizations, how effective would the communication and coordination be between the police and this new department? As anyone who has been involved in program development knows, it takes time to thoughtfully design the specific goals and organizational structure of a new program, hire an experienced leader, recruit and train staff, locate office space, coordinate services, purchase needed equipment, and more.

And what about other important issues that require time and attention to examine — tracking and disciplining officer misconduct, use of deadly force guidelines, and officer training. Don’t we want to thoroughly think through these multiple issues and get more community input before decisions are made? Is there an immanent crisis in Northampton with our current policing that would require us to rush these decisions? I don’t think so.

Jim Reis

Northampton



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