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The new Police Advisory Committee met Thursday. Its purpose is to advocate for the department, research related issues and pursue grant funding and new ways for policing.

Pittsfield Police Advisory Committee Reactivates

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Committee members spent their first meeting introducing themselves to each other and members of the Police Department.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The long-dormant Police Advisory Committee was rejuvenated on Thursday when the newly appointed members held their first meeting.

The committee is intended to be a subcommittee of the City Council to advocate for the Police Department. It's envisioned to explore new technologies, pursue grant funding, help community policing efforts and weigh-in on projects such as the building of a new police station. They will also be asked to research topics by the mayor or City Council.

"This was something I wanted to get started shortly after I got into office," Mayor Daniel Bianchi said Thursday afternoon. "We have to have our city be identified as a safe community."

The members are: Sheriff Thomas Bowler, Phyllis Smith, Ken Wilson, Radcliffe Harewood, Scott Clements, Katie Roucher and Larry Tallman.

Their first meeting at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Thursday served as mostly an introduction to the Police Department. The group met with Chief Michael Wynn, Sgt. Mark Trapani and Lt. Kate O'Brien, who explained the major issues the department face.

Among those issues are drug use, increasing juvenile violence and property crimes. They also explained the structure of the department and invited the group to take ride-alongs with patrol officers, watch the dispatchers and will tour the station — which they plan to do at their next meeting — to get to know the ins and outs of law enforcement.

The initial meetings will get the members more acquainted with the department and are expected to include presentations from different divisions of the department, who will explain their operations, tools and what capabilities they have.

The meetings, which will be the first Monday of every month, will also include an administrative briefing.

Some of the issues already identified by the committee include a new police station, bullying in schools and efficiencies in operations.

Wynn said the group will also serve as an additional method of communication.

"There are a lot of things we hear about after the fact," Wynn told the committee.

Thursday's meeting officially organized the group while they introduced themselves, settled on meeting schedules, how to go about filing minutes and securing meeting locations. The committee elected Harewood as chairman and Roucher as secretary.

"I think it'll be a good group," Bianchi said.

The members were chosen because of their interest and or background of serving in public safety groups. It is one of many committees for which Bianchi has been trying to recruit members. The committee has been "on the books" but it has been "years and not months," the mayor said.

Wynn said he has been requesting the activation of that committee for two years.

Tags: advisory committee,   police,   

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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield

Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program. 
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
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