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As outrage and protests increase, so do police enforcement in Kingston, Great Barrington

Aug 27, 2020 6:33 am
Protests asking for police reform have picked up nationally in the past several days, after a police officer in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times, and after a white supremacist teen-ager shot three people protesting the Blake shooting, killing two of them. This weekend there are more protests locally: one about evictions in Troy Aug. 27; a "Black Lives Matter" protest in Ellenville Aug. 28; a "Mama's for Black Lives Matter" event in Albany Aug. 29; a "Speak Up" demonstration in Dover, in Dutchess County Aug. 30; and a Saugerties "Black Lives Matter Assembly" on Aug. 31. And while there are often calls to shrink police forces at these protests, more local police are expanding. In Kingston, Police Chief Egidio Tinti told the Daily Freeman Aug. 26 that he's aware of community concerns about increased patrols in the city. "They are focused on areas that have been [statistically] problematic in the past," Tinti said, noting officers are officers are conducting traffic stops for equipment violations, or failing to use a turn signal. In Great Barrington, The Berkshire Edge reports, police there have added a "drug recognition expert." The Great Barrington Police Department is one of two departments in Berkshire County now with an officer certified to identify drug-impaired drivers. Marijuana sales are legal in Massachusetts, but drivers under the influence are difficult to spot, police say. “As marijuana has been decriminalized and with the advent of marijuana shops, for a while it’s been a concern in law enforcement — how do you prove or prosecute driving under the influence in drug cases?” Great Barrington police Chief Bill Walsh said at a town meeting Aug. 24.
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