Why I’m In Favor of Not Defunding Our Police and Fire Departments in Somerville

By William Tauro

While all my opponents including our current mayor and Somerville City Councilors speak recklessly out of the sides of their mouths to defund the police and fire departments selfishly without seriously thinking it out, I instead am in favor to support the police and fire departments 110% and I’m absolutely in favor to increasing the police and fire department’s budgets as well.

My opponents are again recklessly doing this just to gather up any support that they can even if it is the wrong decision, I beg to differ because I did the research and come up with an applicable solution to prove my point.

I propose that once I’m elected as your mayor of Somerville to work with other agencies and organizations to tackle this issue from a much more sensible approach that will assist police and fire department members in situations where instead of making a bad situation go terribly wrong to coming out of it with a better outcome.

My administration will form multiple Committees that will be immediately set into motion. One such group will work hand in hand with our programs and address the homeless situation that has run rampant throughout the city. The current administration choose to ignore them and allowed the individuals no guidance or help. Just this past year we have helped out a number of homeless people in different stages of life. Some have had mental disabilities, some were elderly, and some simply ignored by the administration. This to me is totally unacceptable! We do not want to see anyone out on the streets. In this day and age it is an insult to our city officials to allow this type of action to be conducted. Not one person should have to choose between living in the streets, heating their homes, eating, or obtaining their medications. We plan on collaborating with other local programs and are currently in contact with such local organizations to learn better methods such as the Chelsea Police Department’s HUB program. I plan on creating a committee to help the city’s homeless population while working in conjunction with the Somerville Police Department and mental-health social workers. I plan on developing a neighborhood task force as well as bringing a HUB program to Somerville who will assist police and social workers in dealing with problems that could be handled with no violence but rather with needed treatment. The Chelsea HUB is a model for community safety and well-being working together to reduce risk in our community.

The HUB works with families and individuals that are facing difficult challenges and may need services from more than one community agency. Their goal is to work together to ensure families and individuals are safe, healthy and have the opportunity to thrive. The HUB is a police-led initiative made up of designated staff from community and government agencies that meet weekly to address specific situations regarding clients facing elevated levels of risk, and develop immediate, coordinated, and integrated responses through mobilization of resources. There are now 25 participating agencies who come together voluntarily each Thursday morning, and they’ve already covered over 450 situations.

This innovative model mobilizes resources already in place to address specific situations before an emergency occurs. The HUB reduces demands that are currently borne by the criminal justice system, health system, and families by more effectively applying the capacities of our human service partners and our police resources, and mitigating those critical upstream risk factors that lead to harm, crime, and/or death.
Moreover, the criteria for intervention is unique: the case must signify a high probability and strong intensity of harm, and require a multi-disciplinary approach. The case is then “filtered” to determine whether collaborative intervention is necessary, a process used to protect the individual’s privacy. Their model is efficient: they don’t have lengthy meetings diagnosing anything. Each case takes approximately four minutes.

This program will be launched in conjunction with the Chelsea Police Department, the Somerville Police Department the city of Somerville and run by a civilian community engagement person. I will encourage that Somerville Elder Services and the Somerville Council on Aging be onboard as well. Together we will improve our system of outreach.

Billy Tauro

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