NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton’s City Council has voted to cut its police budget by 10 percent next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Originally, Mayor David Narkewicz’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year included an increase in funding of about 2.9 percent. More than $140,000 would have gone to increases in salary, about $8,072 to police training, and more than $45,465 to replace five police cars.
This budget cut comes after protestors have urged the city council to defund the department by at least half. Although layoffs are expected, it’s not known which positions will be affected. Northampton is the latest community looking at ways to reduce the police department budget and find other forms of public safety.
Now, several officers could be laid off. Police Chief Jody Kasper believes there are alternative ways to help the city of Northampton, rather than reducing the budget.
Kasper told 22News, “What I think is a good idea is looking at how police services are being provided and seeing if there are ways to do it better. We are in the business of public safety, so if there is a way for us to provide public safety with mental health experts aside us.”
Northampton resident Joanna Donahue said she thinks the money could be used elsewhere in the city.
“Wouldn’t the money be better spent supporting the school system, clean water? I think we need to start from the bottom and look at the way the money is spent,” said Donahue.
Again, no word on how many officers could lose their jobs, but it’s likely several will. Northampton is the latest community looking at ways to reduce the police department budget and find other forms of public safety.