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The proposed FY 2023 budget presented to the City Council Tuesday night, would direct nearly $100 million to the municipal operating budget, $72 million to the Pittsfield Public Schools budget, $16 million to the city’s water and sewer enterprise budgets and $10 million to other expenses.
The arrests follow in an uptick in violent crime since the beginning of the year. Over a three-month period — from Feb. 1 to April 30, there were 11 confirmed shootings in Pittsfield. Two people were killed, while four were injured.
More than 100 Massachusetts police departments have or have promised the state to start a body camera program. The Pittsfield Police Department is playing catch-up. We look into how other departments are using the technology and answering handling the legal concerns cited by Pittsfield police.
The vote’s main power is to encourage Mayor Linda Tyer and Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn to begin several conversations around the funding and policy portions of body camera discussion — and show the depth of the public support behind eventually bringing police body cameras to Pittsfield.
The local NAACP chapter is calling on Pittsfield’s elected leaders to overhaul how the city responds to people in the throes of a mental health crisis – and to consider shifting that duty away from police.
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said the department's met regularly with a handful of body camera vendors, but he and the department haven't purchased cameras because they haven't resolved what he sees as major legal issues around using the technology in the state.
Family members of the man shot and killed March 25 by Pittsfield police say they await what a spokeswoman termed the “independent” investigation being run by the Berkshire District Attorney’s office. They expressed hope for a fuller picture of what happened on the night Miguel Estrella lost his life.
Local attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, who submitted the petition for body cameras to the City Council Tuesay, said "clearly body cameras are not a fix all or panacea," but argued that adding the technology to the police department would go a long way to "preserving truth."
Questions and comments from city residents to the members of the Pittsfield Police Advisory and Review Board made clear that in the killing of Miguel Estrella, the community sees not a singular case but a systemic failure in the Pittsfield Police Department's engagement with the community.
The meeting could stand as a test to whether the board is meeting what it and the police department defines as the body's goal: to allow "citizens and the police to directly learn from each other in order to create a more stable relationship.