Brave men and women in District 6 get up early every day, working overtime shifts, missing times with family and loved ones -- to keep us safe from harm and help us sleep soundly at night. As state representative, my promise to you is to help our first responders by implementing the following:
1. Assure that departments are fully funded as we continue to recover from the pandemic without putting undue burden on municipalities and taxpayers.
We have seen in small towns across the commonwealth that taxpayers must choose between losing essential services or dramatically raising taxes, such as in Hanson's case with its override vote. I believe that no municipality should have to choose between the two. Towns have suffered from unfair government closures and regulations that reduced or wasted tax revenue to pay for services like police, fire, etc. I will fight to assure that financial hardships created by the state will be rectified by the state.
Communities like ours are also particularly susceptible to increasingly dangerous drug epidemics hitting our nation. We must assure that our paramedics have the resources needed to complete adequate training and be supplied with up to date treatments to save the lives of the children in our community that are too often suffering from drug dependence.
2. Address key issues with the Police Reform Act of 2020, formally known as the "Act Relative to Justice, Equity, and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth". We all can agree that bad cops should be held accountable, and unfortunately, some exist. However, we should not be punishing & harming the 99.9% of cops that are selflessly serving our communities every day. We all believe that racial profiling is bad, and that any police officer should be compelled to intervene if they witness inappropriate actions by fellow officers. These are standard best practices that currently exist in the Commonwealth & this act put it in writing.
However, the law uses these agreeable terms and practices to hide its weaknesses. I commit to revising the composition of the POST board, which the Act established as a majority civilian board to de-certify police officers. This civilian board's decertification process could strip officers of their qualified immunity, opening them up to personal liability in cases where they acted justly. How can we ask officers to keep us safe if they believe they could be liable for doing the right thing?
As I mentioned, I am deeply appreciative of police and our first responders, many of whom I have the pleasure of calling family and friends. I also served most recently as a forensic scientist for four years, and understand the processes and challenges police face as I worked alongside them towards justice.