Community Safety Working Group To Present Final Report To Town Council

Photo: amherstma police.

Source: Community Safety Working Group

The CSWG will be presenting their recommendations for Part B of their charge at the Amherst Town Council Meeting on Monday October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting can be accessed virtually through a Zoom link that will be available here or viewed live streamed through Amherst Media.

The Community Safety Working Group (CSWG) has been meeting weekly since November of 2020 to (a) make recommendations on alternative ways of providing public safety services to the community and (b) make recommendations on reforms to the current organizational and oversight structures of the Amherst Police Department (APD).

The CSWG charge put forth by the Town Manager on 9/21/20 is as follows:

  • Study the complex issues of delivering community safety services – currently provided through the police department and other means –to ensure racial equity;
  • Recommend reforms to the current organizational and oversight structures;
  • Examine existing Town funding priorities for delivering community safety services.

Through weekly 2–4-hour meetings, individual research, consultant support, community forums, surveys, and above all else hearing and amplifying the lived experiences of community members the CSWG has been able to put forth alternative recommendations to make Amherst a safer and more inclusive place in Part A of their charge. Their recommendations for Part A of their charge included a Youth Empowerment Center, a BIPOC Cultural Center, the Community Responders for Equity and Safety Services (CRESS), a Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the creation of an Amherst Resident Oversight Board (ROB), a successor group that is now Community Safety and Social Justice Committee (CSSJ), and a reduction in the size of the APD. Their report alongside the extensive research their group and a consulting group completed  to support each recommendation can be found here. A draft of their upcoming report to the Town Council can be found here (see pp. 20-95).

Moving into the second part of the charge, the CSWG has done extensive work to study the current organizational and oversight structures of the APD working with the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and the African Diaspora Mental Health Association (ADMHA) to explore how APD policies, trainings, and practices can be revised and implemented to reflect inclusivity and safety for all.

The CSWG looks forward to community support and the support of Town Councilors who earlier this year made a commitment to Dismantling White Supremacy, and specifically, “affirming their commitment to eradicating the effects of systemically racist practices of Town government and Town-affiliated organizations, and will review and revise its policies, procedures, bylaws, values, goals, and missions through an anti-racism lens to foster an unbiased and inclusive environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and negative stereotyping toward any person or group”. 

Questions? Please contact the Community Safety Working Group at 

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1 thought on “Community Safety Working Group To Present Final Report To Town Council

  1. The final report of the CSWG ———Part-B–Oct-2021 — — is tremendous. It’s thorough, thoughtful, and informative, and offers a model for other communities who are committed to equitable and just safety services. On a personal note, with respect to my children’s father who lives (in Amherst) with severe mental illness, I’m extremely grateful
    for the work this group has done.
    I had the chance to speak with him and he feels supported and grateful, too. Thank you CSWG.

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