HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke City Council is considering next steps after an audit of the police department was released this year.
Accreditation was one of the ideas proposed in the audit, getting the department up to a state or national standard, but some say additional steps like addressing staffing needs to be addressed first.
“The biggest problem that came up time and time again is that people are tired, they’re being forced to do overtime and at the same time we’re always trying to control the over time,” said Councilor Linda Vacon.
Vacon addressed a handful of recommendations put forward in the more than 130 page audit, noting that as the department makes some headway on recruiting conversations need to be had on the amount of paid time off.
The audit was conducted in October of last year looking at everything from staffing to funding. The review also looked at how officers are used, finding that utilizing civilians for some jobs like the front desk could free officers up for patrol. It also looked at training and policies, advocating for a field training program. And recommended the city look at the police department building’s maintenance and security on a structural level.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilor Peter Tallman said the audit should be looked at as a road map, “What can we do? What is the future of the police department? Step by step all of us collectively, and the mayor and the police chief to move on and to make this department better than what it is today.”