EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 10, 2013

Patrolmen challenge mayor's statement that crime is down

Fiorentini: The statistics don't lie


“The statistics are the statistics and they don’t lie,” the mayor said. “I understand the patrolmen are ones on the street and that they feel that crime is not down. But I think that’s because they see it every day. It’s like if you tell a lady whose house was just burglarized that burglaries are down. It’s not going to feel like that to her.”

Still, Fiorentini said the city could put three more patrolmen “on the street” if the union would support his proposal to replace all police officers in the public safety dispatch center with civilian dispatchers. The union recently agreed to use a civilian to replace one of two patrolmen per shift who had been working in the dispatch center, but that still leaves one patrolmen per shift, or three per day, in the dispatch center, Fiorentini said. The union opposes taking all patrolmen out of the dispatch, the mayor said.

Nonetheless, Fiorentini said he believes he and the patrolmen are “on the same page” when it comes to the department’s challenges and needs. He noted he intends to ask City Council on Tuesday to approve his request to hire two more patrolmen. He also said he has scheduled a meeting with the union’s executive committee tomorrow to discuss its concerns.

Police Chief Alan DeNaro also said the crime numbers are accurate and reliable. But the chief stressed they are “only a benchmark tool.”

The statistics “enable law enforcement agencies to gauge the various types of crime in a particular community against what is occurring in other communities, in the region, as well as the entire country,” DeNaro said.

“There is still much to do in reducing serious crime,” the chief said. “I believe the mayor realizes how hard our officers work to keep this community safe and he also understands the need to have adequate manpower to address the needs of the community. Adding the additional officers is a step in the right direction.”

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