Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solutions to Public Safety in Lawrence

In case you missed it, earlier this week Representative Paul Adams (R-Andover) delivered letters to Governor Deval Patrick and Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua regarding a potential solution to the public safety issue that currently faces the city of Lawrence.

The letters to Governor Patrick and Mayor Lantigua come after a night of near riots in Lawrence last week. According to an article that appeared in the Eagle Tribune, “just after 1 a.m., some 800 people jammed the Essex and Newbury street area creating ‘near riot conditions’ and ‘mayhem’ for an undermanned police shift to contend with, officers said.”

In his letter to Governor Patrick, Representative Adams said in part, “Ongoing violence in the city and chaos involving hundreds of people on Sunday, August 21 reflects a pressing, dangerous problem, but it is just the latest incident since more than 40 police officers were laid off last year – almost 30% of the police force of a city of nearly 80,000,” The letter to the Governor goes on to say, “Since last summer, nearly every category of criminal activity has increased by double digits, including murder. This is unacceptable.” Additionally, Representative Adams calls on the Governor to call in additional State Police to “help maintain order for a 2-3 month interim period.”

Representative Adams’ solution to the overlying issue of violence in the city of Lawrence - $1.2 million in Local Aid reversions that Lawrence is set to receive thanks to a House GOP led budget initiative. The Andover Republican lays the claim that the monies that Lawrence will recieve in reversions should be used to re-hire as many police as possible. In addition to re-hiring law enforcement officers, Representative Adams advocates for a “temporary policy to close bars and nightclubs one hour earlier (to 1 A.M.) on weekend evenings.”

On the heels of Representative Adams’ letters to Governor Patrick and Mayor Lantigua, the Eagle Tribune wrote an editorial in support of Representative Adams’ proposals. The editorials says in part, “It is refreshing to hear a local elected official express an opinion on the violence plaguing Lawrence and offer proposals to address it. Others — Mayor William Lantigua, some members of the City Council and the rest of Lawrence's legislative delegation — have been silent while the city they were elected to serve tears itself apart.”

The editorial goes on to say, “The added state aid gives Lawrence leaders an opportunity to protect better the lives and property of city residents. Failing to seize that opportunity is an abdication of their primary responsibility to those they were elected to serve.”

Click here to read the Eagle Tribune editorial in its entirety.