WGXC-90.7 FM

Pittsfield NAACP calls for changes in crisis response

May 06, 2022 1:00 am

Larry Parnass is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle that the Pittsfield, Mass. chapter of the NAACP is calling on the city's elected officials to overhaul who responds to people in the throes of a mental health crisis and shifting that responsibility away from police. The group is making the appeal in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Miguel Estrella on March 25. “Change cannot wait. Our communities of color continue to experience trauma as a result of law-enforcement officers' actions and the inaction of our elected leaders. It is irresponsible and dangerous to allow these circumstances to persist,” the NAACP said in a statement May 5. Dennis Powell, chapter president, said in an interview the group's leaders believe much more can be done to prevent violence. “We never thought this would happen in our community, but it has. We have to come to some solution,” he said. The group has asked public officials, both municipal and state, to take specific steps, including conducting an assessment of the police department's functions, led by people named to an advisory commission who represent the city’s diversity and have lived experience of the issue. The NAACP argues that city officials should not rely mainly on police to respond to mental-health calls and points to programs elsewhere in Massachusetts and in Eugene, Oregon as examples of successful alternative programs. “There are many [alternatives in] responding to non-violent emergency calls every day in this country,” the group said. Powell recently joined the city’s Police Advisory and Review Board. He said that group also intends to consider reform in how Pittsfield responds to people in crisis. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.

Wave Farm / WGXC Acra Contact Info
Mailing: PO Box 13 Acra, NY 12405
Main Office / Acra Studio
(518) 622-2598
WGXC Office
(518) 697-7400
WGXC Hudson Studio
(518) 828-0290
WGXC Feedback
(518) 212-7509 feedback@wgxc.org
Wave Farm / WGXC Acra Studio: 5662 Route 23 Acra, NY 12405
WGXC Hudson Studio: 369 Warren St. Hudson, NY 12534