Pittsfield Can’t Afford ‘Boots On The Ground’
When Pittsfield Police officers drive through certain neighborhoods, sometimes teens curse and give officers the finger. This is terrible; however, not surprising, and the relationship between between city residents, (mainly teens), and the police should be fixed so a sense of trust can prevail.
The idea that Pittsfield Police implement walking their beats has been tossed around for awhile now, (not since the '70s was it last done correctly), but according to Chief Wynn, he doesn't have enough officers. This, from iberkshires.com.
Wynn said policing has become call driven and that officers are handling some 43,000 calls for service per year. If an officer is not in a car on the beat, then he does not have the ability to transport a prisoner -- tying up another car for that -- isn't available to close a road in case of a fire, and can't carry medical supplies to answer those calls for help either. Wynn estimates that a third of the officer's abilities are removed when pulled out of a cruiser.
Toward the end of 2017, the Pittsfield Police Department did put in place and "park and walk" program, where officers would park their cruiser for 15 minutes a shift to walk their beat. Chief Wynn said that is definitely happening, with around 700 walks on paper.
As for a regular presence of walking police officers to ensure safety and rebuild relationships between the police and city youth, Pittsfield simply does not have the money to staff the shifts with additional officers it would take.