I am disappointed that Mayor Elorza has only elected to
review the budget of one department out of nearly fifty under the City’s
purview. Why and what will this accomplish? We know that the Providence
Police Department is not funded at capacity and that even if it were; we
don’t have enough officers to be in each of our neighborhoods to deal with
the quality of life issues that so many people call their Councilor’s
about; like ATVs and motorbikes, fireworks, and other nuisance issues.
The incidents of police brutality that have occurred
around the United States have rarely happened here, and when it has, our
Chief of Police has acted swiftly and beyond reproach. This administration
seems to be singling out one department when we are facing a fiscal cliff
like we have not seen since the Great Recession of 2008. The City should
have hired an outside firm to look at all of the city departments to see
how we can best navigate these difficult times.
Instead, we are sending a message to the very people
that we ask to protect us - that they are devalued. Every day our men and
women of the Providence Police Department go to work to serve and protect
us, the residents of Providence. If it were not for police officers like
Officer Jose Deschamps, the Figueroa family would have lost their 8-month
old baby boy, Dylan. This is one example of the hundreds of acts of bravery
and courage that our officers have shown daily. Even when they are being
called names, having bottles thrown at them, spit on, and all the while,
they stand by to ensure the safety of those same people.
I see this as nothing more than political grandstanding
and a waste of money that we could have used to invest in social service
programs to build a better and more resilient community.
I’m not going to say that there have not been bad cops
or cops that would do harm based on a bias. There most certainly has, and
unfortunately, there will be again, but those individuals must be rooted
out, and our Chief of Police is committed to doing just that. We need to
provide more supports to our officers who are working longer hours, with
fewer officers in the division, and doing more with less.
If we are to review one department, let’s review them
all. Certainly, we can find abundant cost savings in other departments to
keep our City fiscally afloat and address the social service needs that are
lacking and taking our officers away from crime prevention and reduction.
Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 4