New Bedford police station set to close under new budget

38df8e44 7f55 4a4d B0cc 3bd4cca16f0d

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) —Downtown New Bedford’s police station is set to close under Mayor Mitchell’s new budget.

Residents say they understand money is tight, especially in the pandemic, but some say closing this police station would be a big mistake.

Eileen Moniz has lived in New Bedford all her life, and says she loves downtown.

But she’s shocked by the thought of this police station closing.

“They’re the most important people in town, the police,” Moniz said. “Not anything else. They’re the ones that we need. We expect them to come and help us and be there for us. And they are.”

She says the police were able to arrive right away when her jewelry store here was robbed.

“Thank God for the police department,” Moniz said. “They were right there. That police station really needs to stay downtown. I mean, they know what downtown’s like.”

She says it’s been getting worse.

“Now things are a little rocky,” Moniz said. “And to take this away? I mean, who’s going to take care of downtown, and the people?”

Moniz says that includes many elderly people in the neighborhood who also care about having a station physically present.

“This should not even be a choice,” she said. “This should not even be touched. This should not be any policy. It should be always there.”

Mayor Mitchell says this is a difficult decision, but that the police department is one of the only areas where he is allowed to make cuts.

He points out cities across the country are moving away from physical police stations.

Mitchell says officers at the downtown station would be moved to police headquarters, and vacant positions would not be filled, saving the city about $600,000.

But he says there would still be some police presence downtown.

“It’s not like we’re stopping policing downtown,” said the mayor, a Democrat. “There’s a full-time police officer here at City Hall. There’s going to continue to be community policing based here.”

Mitchell adds that no officers would be laid off as part of this move.

The Mayor’s budget has been submitted to city council, who will be reviewing it over the next month.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News, Politics, Regional News