Northampton City Council call on mayor to establish new policing alternative

Local News

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Northampton City Council is calling on the mayor to establish a new policing alternative.

A unanimous passing of a resolution calling to establish the new department met with support as well as concerns during the public comment session.

“This group took to the review of the police department if they were only reading the manual and specifications of the vehicle,” Josh Wallace, member of the New England Police Benevolent Association said.

The Department of Community Care would be separate from the Northampton Police Department, and according to this resolution from the city council, about 800,000 would be allocated towards it.

“Ultimately we’re going to need a lot more funding. We’re going to need funding similar to what the police get today to provide for all people here in Northampton,” Volunteer Organizer for Northampton Abolition Now, Ashwin Ravikumar said.

However, during Thursday’s meeting, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz noted his conflicts with the resolution, stating the financial stability fund could not be used to start it.

“These are not recurring revenue and not spend them on and when you try to spend them on operating expenses, you are not only going to have to replicate them in the next year but then increase that amount and continue to increase that amount to try and support operating expenses,” Mayor Narkewicz said.

Northampton Policing Review Board was made up of residents and members selected by the mayor and the city council president.

“You could have really nailed it down to nine words. ‘Whereas we commend the commissioners and support their recommendations.’ That’s it that’s all it had to say for me,” Northampton Councilor Michael J. Quinlan Jr. said.

It’s important to note this resolution does not specify how it would fund the new department. 22News reached out to Northampton Police and the Mayor’s Office. Neither were able to provide a statement in response to the council’s resolution.

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