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Rockland Council to discuss police funding, oversight

By Stephen Betts | Oct 08, 2020
Angela McIntyre of Rockland spoke to the City Council concerning the request to create a citizen review committee for the Rockland Police Department.

Rockland — The Rockland City Council will hold a forum at some point, most likely after the Nov. 3 election, to discuss the police department's budget, priorities, and oversight.

The issue arose at the Council's Monday evening, Oct. 5 meeting when Angela McIntyre of Rockland, who organized a June 19 Black Lives Matter rally in Rockland and led a petition drive to shift resources from police to other community services, asked councilors if there was any response to that petition.

McIntyre renewed her call for a civilian oversight board to be created to respond to complaints by the public about police actions.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said he was trying to schedule a forum, but there is a limit of 50 people meeting inside and the City Council room is limited to 32.

Councilor Nate Davis said he has not forgotten about the Black Lives Matter petition nor the one submitted by people who voiced strong support for the police department.

Davis reminded McIntyre two new councilors will be elected Nov. 3. He suggested any discussion await the change in the Council.

Councilor Ben Dorr said a conversation about the police department is needed but said the more appropriate time for such a robust discussion would be when the Council is reviewing the police department budget.

The city manager submits his budget to the Council in the spring and the Council adopts it by June 30.

The current police department budget is $2,177,000, an increase of 1.6% from the 2019-2020 budget

At a meeting earlier in the year, McIntyre called for a civilian oversight board and to have trained mental health and social workers available to respond to first-responder calls. She said the defund effort would be a gradual one.

McIntyre also voiced opposition to the city creating a school resource officer.

McIntyre said many people have contacted her who witnessed or experienced racial discrimination, abuse of power or misconduct by Rockland police. She said those people want to remain anonymous.

Following submission of that petition, supporters of the department held a rally on Aug. 10 and then submitted a petition with more than 1,300 signatures.

While petitions show public sentiment, they carry no legal weight with budget decisions resting with the City Council.

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 09, 2020 09:15

It doesn't take much to sway public sentiment from "back the blue" to "save the Porcupines".  This irresponsible action by a couple of officers has spawned a resurgence of the "Defund" movement.  But hay look we're already better off than before.  Now the Department is down by two salaries.  And Francis put me down for three or more of those Porcupine decals

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 08, 2020 16:54

Them porcupines decals for the cruisers fenders ain't cheap neither.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 08, 2020 14:42

I now know why we spend a million bucks a year more for our PD than Belfast, an equally populated county seat city with a larger patrol area: We have our own Porcupine 'Swat' Team. Note that at least one contestant for the council is running on the "because the police department is underfunded and understaffed" slogan. Watch how fast that philosophy rockets us to 3 mil a year.

Posted by: Wyatt Anderson | Oct 08, 2020 13:41

Well said Francis.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 08, 2020 10:14

I find people more creditable if I know a name rather then the ones that hid behind anonymity.

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