DIRE Committee member Aruna D'Souza pressed the pair about whether that conversation could include a step that many in town have been calling for since August's release of a discrimination suit by a sergeant against the town, Hoch and Police Chief Kyle Johnson.
Patton, who serves on the DIRE Committee the Select Board established in June, replied that it is not as simple as the town deciding not to employ people based on actions for which the employees already were disciplined.
In a letter to Town Manager Jason Hoch, Officer Brad Sacco, the president of Massachusetts Coalition of Police Local 424, accused the Select Board and the Diversity Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee it appointed this summer of fostering an "environment of hostility" toward law enforcement.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee this week heard from several residents who echoed the concerns raised by committee members about the presence of police officers in the town's public schools.
It is a topic that has been mentioned before in town and Mount Greylock Regional School District forums, but the comments at last week's DIRE Committee meeting were as strong as any to date in an official forum.
A resident addressing the DIRE Committee during the public comment portion of its weekly virtual meeting suggested that the necessary discussions about the federal lawsuit filed against the town, police chief and town manager threatened to overshadow ongoing conversations that predate the legal action and led to the creation of the committee itself in June.
The Select Board spent nearly two hours listening to some of the 70 people who dialed in to participate in the remote meeting, with many of those speaking calling for Police Chief Kyle Johnson and Town Manager Jason Hoch to be placed on administrative leave and an independent investigation to be launched.