Mike Naughton, I think your overall question to our police dept. about how they view, and intend to respond, to the questions and proposed changes being raised nationally, is important to ask -- although I hold that the "answers" are not known yet, and will come from public forums as well as smaller conversations among community members and police.
The way you pose the question is respectful. I wish I had realized any of this was being discussed on montaguema.net, prior to Town Meeting. A clear presentation of the components of P.D. budget was not requested as part of the discussion, and I wish it had been. I see no evidence that we have any "extra" or "fat" in our budget. Montague could hardly be more different from L.A. or Minneapolis, in terms of these issues. I do think public conversations need to be deep and honest regarding problems that do exist, or any incidents that have occurred, that are sub-par and need improvement.
Restructuring the responsibilities of public-safety officers, AS WELL AS teachers and school staff, so that social services resources can handle counseling, conflict resolution, domestic abuse, and addiction interventions -- taking the lion's share of this work off the backs of police and schools -- would be a dream come true for so many of us!
The money to provide these alternatives, at a robust enough level, is not something we can raise from taxes locally. I believe we need a Federal government that taxes income at the rates of the Eisenhower years, and returns the lion's share to communities for infrastructure and human needs. A graduated income tax at the state level would help, as well.
You were missed at Town Meeting, Mike, and I hope you and your family are all safe and well.
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