Northampton meets with policing commission for review, recommendations

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Conversations about the future of policing in Northampton continued Tuesday night.

The mayor and City Council members heard the final report from the Northampton Policing Review Commission. The Commission is recommending a number of changes within the police department and overall city. But for now, these are just recommendations, no decision was made.

A 58-page report outlined some big changes to Northampton. These are some of the immediate changes the Northampton Policing Review Commission would like to see enacted:

  • A department of community care: It is a separate department that would assist with mental health and substance use.
  • A peer and co-responder model: This means an unarmed civilian would respond to certain calls like wellness checks and reports of suspicious persons; these civilians would also work with police on other calls.
  • Improve the current police department complaint process.

“Having people who have experienced houseless-ness people who have experienced substance abuse having them co-design this, in different levels of leadership positions, having the staff that is really going to be important,” said Daniel Cannity, a member of the Commission.

The committee was formed last summer to study policing in Northampton, the same time George Floyd was killed. Topics that plan to be discussed include department size, civilian oversight, and the budget. 

This meeting concluded their months long study and presented their final report.

Mayor David Narkewicz said, “From there, the Council and mayor have to take that report and digest the recommendations and think about which ones are actionable and which ones make sense.”

The committee also discussed police department budget cuts and introducing services for the homeless.

The meeting took place on Zoom. 

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