Thursday, June 19, 2014

Meeting with the Chief in the Second Ward

A little more than a year ago, Ed Moore, who had then been chief of the Hudson Police Department for about nine weeks, held a town meeting at Basilica Hudson with residents of the First Ward. The meeting had been arranged by First Ward aldermen Nick Haddad and David Marston. Late yesterday afternoon, thanks to the efforts of Alderman Tiffany Garriga, the chief held a similar town meeting in the community room of Bliss Towers with residents of the Second Ward. For the First Ward meeting, the screening room of the Basilica, which seats about 80, was filled. For the Second Ward meeting, there were fewer than 20 people in attendance, not counting representatives of the media, elected officials from other wards, and building manager Jeff First. An incident that occurred just before the meeting and recounted by Moore at the meeting gives some insight into why. 

Arriving on foot a little early for the meeting, Moore sat down on a bench outside the building. A woman who had been sitting there got up and walked away because she didn't want it to appear that she was sitting with a police officer. 

The hour-long meeting was recorded for WGXC and can be heard here. For these who don't want to spend an hour listening, Gossips offers some highlights.

A woman complained about people congregating outside Bliss Towers late at night, suggesting that people should be indoors and quiet by 11 p.m. She said that when she called the police, a car would come and park on the street, but the officer would not get out of the car. Moore told the woman that police officers used their judgment to determine if a situation required police intervention, saying, "It's a fine line between quality of life and letting people live their life."

Moore confessed that when he first became chief he thought twenty-six officers for a city of 6,670 people seemed excessive. He has since learned that the high ratio of police to residents is necessary because of the volume of calls that come into the police station. He said that it was not uncommon for a police officer to respond to ten or eleven calls during an eight hour shift. He also admitted that the police didn't do a lot of traffic enforcement--trucks speeding and jake braking, cars speeding and ignoring pedestrian crosswalks--because "the complaint work keeps them busy."

Last year, Moore told the First Ward that he considered the police car to be one of the worst inventions for municipal policing. He continues his commitment to "getting out of the car culture." He wants to get all the officers on bikes and would like to replace the computers, which are in the cars, with tablets "to get officers out of the cars."
Photo by Seth Rogovoy

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