Aldermen voice support for Manchester Police Department

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Manchester Police Department Chief Carlo Capano. File photo/Andrew Sylvia)

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Sunday afternoon, a supermajority of the Minneapolis City Council announced it will be “defunding” the Minneapolis Police Department. It’s unclear what other American cities might follow their lead, but it appears Manchester will not be one of them.

On Monday, Manchester Ink Link reached out to every member of the Manchester Board of Aldermen. Five responded, all with unequivocal support for the Manchester Police Department and Manchester Police Department Chief Carlo Capano.

Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long says that the Manchester Police Department has long adhered to the eight primary requests asked by police defunding activists.

Another key concern of the police defunding movement is transferring money from police budgets into funding for social workers so police can avoid being forced into the role of a social worker while on the beat. However, Long also says that Manchester’s police excel when it comes to interactions with members of the public with mental health issues, citing a ride-along he took with police several months ago as well as strong police outreach to the city’s immigrant communities.

If anything, he believes that both the city’s police department and other ancillary agencies that can help those with mental health concerns need more funding, not less.

“I have not heard any complaints from my constituents regarding the police, outside of possibly that they are not driving by enough,” he said.

Ward 7 Alderman Ross Terrio shares Long’s belief that the Manchester Police Department is underfunded for a city the size of Manchester. He is open to complaints and criticisms about the department, but says that he was impressed by the professionalism he saw during a ride-along where officers were taunted and yelled at.

“I share the disgust with the needless death of George Floyd in Minnesota. It is unfair to compare and blame the officers of the Manchester Police Department with the officers involved in the death of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis,” said Terrio. “Further, I believe that cutting funding for the Manchester police department would worsen the situation for both our police officers and our citizens.”

Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry says he has the utmost respect for Capano, calling the Manchester Police Department one of the best in New Hampshire and Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann says that the Manchester Policce Department has been exemplary under Capano in delivering a modern, diverse and compassionate group of individuals and praised their work through the Police Athletic League.

At-Large Alderman Joseph Kelly Levasseur said that in spite of receiving hundreds of emails from defunding activists, he echoes the sentiments of Long, Terrio, Barry and Hirschmann and like them. Levasseur added that he will support funding to hire new police officers within the Fiscal Year 2021 city budget that the Aldermen will vote on Tuesday night.

On Monday night, Mayor Joyce Craig announced that she signed on to a pledge to review the Manchester Police Department’s use of force policies, report findings publicly, engage the community and revise policies as needed while also praising Capano.

“We know there’s always room for improvement, and are committed to continuing to work to ensure justice and equity for everyone in our community,” she said in her statement.

About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.