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Residents Petition For Pittsfield Officers to Have Walking Beats

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A group of residents has petitioned the City Council to have police officers do regular foot patrols.
Will Singleton presented the petition to the City Council on Tuesday. He believes regular walking patrols will greatly improve officer's relationship with the residents.
"We can't afford not to take this step," Singleton said. "We think police foot patrols will bring great benefits to our community."
Singleton wants officers assigned to walking beats. He said the officer will get to know everybody on the beat much better and vice versa. He said officers will "be walking encyclopedias of who's who" in the neighborhood. As residents get to know the officer, trust will build between them.
"The officer will be up close and personal with every element of the community," Singleton said.
Resident Linda Kelly said, "this makes a huge difference in the attitude of the community." She said when she lived in Boston, walking beats reduced the number of crimes -- from petty larceny to drug trafficking to breaking and entering.
Residents Craig Gaetani and Alex Blumin also voiced support for the petition.
This isn't the first time the city has been petitioned for walking beats in recent years. In 2014, downtown merchants got together to ask for foot patrols. However, that was faced with resistance by those in the Police Department and the former administration, both of which said patrol officers have too many calls to handle throughout the city to be dedicated to being on foot downtown.
Former Mayor Daniel Bianchi ordered specific shifts for walking downtown, which was on overtime. But, that quickly grew in cost and was stopped. Downtown Pittsfield Inc. teamed up with the Police Department to create a downtown ambassador program. That brings extra eyes to the downtown without taxing the Police Department itself. 
This year, Mayor Linda Tyer and Police Chief Michael Wynn launched what is being called a "park and walk initiative" in which officers are required to leave their cruisers and walk a portion of the beat for 15 minutes. 
Singleton said, "that is a start, but not enough." The City Council referred the petition to the Public Health and Safety Subcommittee for more discussion.
In other business, the city, the Pittsfield Economic Development Agency, and Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. have finalized the intergovernmental agreements to share services. The three organizations are combining efforts to hire a business development manager who will be in charge of specifically seeking out businesses to help them relocate to the city or grow in the city.
"I would expect this will launch in the first quarter," said PEDA Chairman Mick Callahan.
A candidate search for the business development manager is currently underway. According to PEDA member Pamela Green, seven finalists have been interviewed and a second round is expected next week.
"I think we have some really great candidates out there," Green said.

Tags: business development,   PEDA,   police patrols,   

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: July 10-16


Welcome to Cultural Pittsfield's weekly guide featuring in-person and virtual classes and events, information, and more. If you are a Pittsfield business and would like your event listed, please email us at Thank you and be well!
TONIGHT - Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m.: Berkshire OLLI at BCC presents An Online Conversation with Jim Acosta. The Chief White House Correspondent for CNN will discuss "The Enemy of the People: One Year, One Impeachment, and One Pandemic Later," co-sponsored by Berkshire Gas and The Berkshire Eagle.

NEW DATE! Pittsfield's first everDrive.Walk.Bike City Art Show will take place on Friday, July 10 from 4-8 p.m. Artists will be displaying their paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fashions, sidewalk art, videos, and more on their porches, trees, lawns, and driveways, in their garages, or projected onto their homesView the list of participants and locations here!
Berkshire Theatre Group presents a virtual benefit performance live from Florence, Italy. Hershey Felder stars in Beethoven: A Play with Music on Sunday, July 12 at 8 p.m. 
Dramatizing Gerhard von Breuning's memoir, "Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus," Felder brings Ludwig van Beethoven to life through the eyes of the Viennese doctor who spent his boyhood by the Maestro's side. Featuring some of the composer's greatest works, Felder's Beethoven is an intense, illuminating journey. 
Berkshire Artist Profiles NEW Jacob's Pillow Virtual Festival Learn from Home w/Berkshire Theatre Group | Classes w/Berkshire Music School Classes w/Berkshire Fitness & Wellness Center | Classes w/IS183 Art School | Painting Tutorials w/Berkshire Paint & Sip | Virtual Barrington Stage Classes w/Radiance Yoga | Classes w/Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness Classes w/Antil Fitness | Email for Online Drumming Classes | ONGOING Online Classes w/Berkshire OLLI | FRI 1Berkshire Town Hall: Reopening the Economy, Phase 3 | FRI DLE Virtual Culture Chat | MON WordXWord: Dancing in the Street Virtual Poetry Slam | WED I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone Live Stream | WED 1Berkshire Virtual Team Trivia | THU Live Storytelling w/BCC Alums

Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness is now offering its Radiant Child Yoga class at Brattle Farm. Kids of all ages are invited to join instructor Julie Pellerin-Herrera on Fridays, July 10, July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 21 from 10:15-11 a.m. Pre-registration is required as class space is limited. $15/class.
Berkshire Theatre Group presents Sunset Cinema, outdoor film screenings at Taconic High School. Drive up and enjoy family-friendly movies in the comfort and safety of your vehicle ($25/car). A food truck will be on site offering concessions! Friday, July 10: Disney's Newsies: The Broadway Musical. Saturday, July 11: The Wiz Live! Thursday, July 16: Jurassic Park.Friday, July 17: The Iron GiantSaturday, July 18: Coco.

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