Letter: Denied Extension To Complete Their Work, CSWG Continues To Examine Amherst Police Department Policies And Procedures

Entrance to Amherst Police Department. Photo: Art Keene

During the Thursday (6/17) meeting of the Community Safety Working Group (CSWG), the Town Manager made it clear that he will not be extending CSWG’s charge past September 1, 2021.

We now have a hard deadline of Monday, August 23, 2021 to get as much work done as possible to complete the second part of our charge (including formulating recommendations for resident oversight and for policy reforms for the APD). This work includes finding the time to find and work with consultants through the Invitation to Bid Process (IFB), creating a final report, and preparing a presentation for the Town Council and Town Manager. The IFB contains an overview of some of the key tasks that the group still needs to do to complete our charge. 

Group members have expressed the need for an extension in order to ensure that the consultants have time to complete their research and produce quality recommendations on reforms to the current organizational and oversight structures of the Amherst Police Department (This time constraint also makes the IFB unattractive to qualified bidders). The first part of our charge had a time limitation due to the budgetary guidelines ,however there are no budgetary implications for the second part of our charge.  As a group, we are disappointed in the lack of consideration that our request for an extension has been given and that a crucial portion of our work is being rushed. We will move forward with ambition and vigor and address as much as we can within the timeframe that we are being provided. 

Linked below  is the invitation for the bid that the group approved last night. We are all hoping to learn more about the policies and procedures at the APD that can be changed as the Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service (CRESS) program is being implemented, in addition to learning more about how we can implement an effective and diverse Resident Oversight Board. We encourage supporters of our recommendations to contact Council members to express their support of our work.

Brianna Owen

Brianna Owen is co-chair of the Community Safety Working Group

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