On the not-so-small matter of increasing the size of Manchester’s police force, a few points come to mind.
It’s overdue. Manchester is the state’s biggest city and its problems with gang activity and the attendant drug trade have been a growing threat for years, even if annual statistics show some breaks in the pattern.
The drug problem has also exacerbated the complicated problems of homelessness, in part because of the city’s welcoming approach with its “Safe Stations” program. The cop on the beat should be expected to be neither a street social worker nor the legal counterweight to civil liberties lawyers; but a police presence can add much in ways both subtle and substantial to public safety and security.
Because this staffing increase is long overdue and long evident, the sudden interest in it by Mayor Joyce Craig is clearly politically motivated. An election approaches and Ms. Craig and her advisers have figured out that they must finally “DO something!” Why wasn’t this done as part of the last budget?
While mayoral candidate Victoria Sullivan is right to criticize Mayor Craig’s inaction until now on the matter, her own approach to the issue isn’t very impressive.
Knowing that Craig was likely to do exactly what she has done in the runup to the fall elections, by now Sullivan should have her own detailed and specific plan to present to the city.
Saying we need such a plan is not enough.