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Press Release - Deval Patrick Pledges 1,000 New Police Officers in Massachusetts

Location: Boston, MA


Initiative Part of Proactive Public Safety Plan: New Cops, Prevention, Enforcement, and Community Efforts To Reduce Violence And Crime Throughout The Commonwealth

Boston - August 10, 2006 - Democratic candidate for governor Deval Patrick today announced his pledge to hire and train 1,000 new police officers as part of a comprehensive Public Safety plan. In his plan, Patrick responds to recent escalations of crime and violence in urban and suburban areas across the state, and details strong solutions that are firm, fair, and forward thinking.

"Response to crime must above all be firm. I see 1,000 new officers on the streets to restore and enhance our community patrol ranks," said Patrick. "Because prevention is the best and cheapest form of public protection, Massachusetts will lead in crime prevention. I envision a Massachusetts where we all work together — families, educators, police, local courts, religious and community leaders, state and local government officials — to stop crime before it starts. I see adults re-engaged at all levels to help young people turn away from a culture of violence and irresponsibility, and a government that is working to expand job and after-school opportunities so that young people have a reason to hope."

Patrick was the first candidate in the gubernatorial race to address issues of public safety, calling in December of 2005 for reduction in gun violence and trafficking in Massachusetts. Patrick's newly released Public Safety Plan represents a broad strategy, utilizing youth-based prevention programs, enhanced regulation of dangerous firearms, increased law enforcement training, and state support for neighborhood efforts to protect local residents.

"Working together with youth, parents, civic leaders, schools and churches we will, once again, create a community-wide effort to protect and uphold the law. I see communities where even minor crimes are not tolerated, where Government is proactive, and where equal protection and fair treatment are leadership values," said Patrick.

In his provisions, Patrick stresses the need for strengthening and streamlining the Commonwealth's terrorist prevention and emergency readiness capabilities. Patrick's plan cites the need for greater coordination of intelligence and communications between local, state, and federal agencies to ensure the protection of people and critical infrastructure and to provide absolute efficiency, and effective disaster response.

Patrick's plan further highlights the need to expand the Public Safety focus beyond Boston, and connect the governor's office to urban and suburban areas across the state. Crime is not rising in Boston alone, and violence is not isolated to cities. With his plan, Patrick aims to combat increases in crime seen in Worcester, Lowell, Springfield, Wayland, Fitchburg, and cities and towns throughout Massachusetts.

Patrick announced his plan at the Grove Street Campaign office Dorchester, joined by Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral and former State Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, both of whom have recently endorsed his run for governor. Patrick also shared his announcement with Massachusetts residents who have been victims of violence and their family members.

Deval Patrick's Public Safety measures include:

Stronger Partnerships. Working with the Attorney General, Patrick will convene an ongoing Anti-Crime Council to include local mayors, district attorneys, police and law enforcement professionals, clergy, non-profit service providers, academics, legislators and youth workers, together with Federal officials and officials from neighboring states, to develop a comprehensive Public Safety Action Plan and specific implementation steps. The Council will produce coordinated law enforcement including strategies for intercepting gun and drug trafficking as well as for early intervention and prevention.

Expanding Community Policing. Staffing police departments sufficiently to enable walking patrols, so that officers become a presence in and familiar with neighborhoods, is a strategy that works. With the help of a specific state appropriation, the Patrick administration will put 1,000 new police officers on the streets. Local officials will have the flexibility to implement the plan in the way that assures success in their communities. In addition, Patrick will advocate for increased federal funding of the "COPS" program.

End Gang and Gun Violence. The resurgence of gang violence in Massachusetts must be stopped and will be in the Patrick administration. In addition to a renewed commitment to community policing, Patrick will restore the law enforcement, public health and community-based strategies that worked in the 1990s and support the Urban Violence Reduction Initiative undertaken by several urban mayors; revive the coordination between state and local police and federal law enforcement throughout the region to attack illegal gun trafficking into Massachusetts at the source; limit gun purchases in Massachusetts to one firearm per month; ensure that private sellers such as those at gun shows are subjected to the same reviews and checks as licensed dealers; require background checks of purchasers at gun shows and from private dealers; and strengthen the ability of prosecutors to protect witnesses of gang violence.

To ensure safe schools for students and teachers, Patrick will renew his commitment to conflict resolution and peer mediation programs that help dramatically reduce violence in schools by offering peaceful alternatives to resolving disputes.

Prevent Terrorism and Improve Emergency Preparedness. Preventing a terrorist attack must become a higher priority and better coordination is the key. State law enforcement agencies will share critical intelligence with their local and federal counterparts, and will develop disaster response, emergency evacuation and coordinated communications plans cooperatively. This is the smartest way to strengthen the defenses of the Commonwealth's people and critical infrastructures, and to ensure homeland security.

Support Youth Initiatives. First, Massachusetts must focus on identifying and prosecuting the small percentage of young people who commit the vast majority of violent juvenile crime. To do so, the Commonwealth has to stop treating the juvenile justice system and its professionals as second class citizens and start bringing together the range of dedicated DYS, police, probation and prosecution and community-based social and human services needed to both punish and reform youthful offenders. Then, for the benefit of all kids, Patrick's administration will create new or expanded after-school opportunities, including enrichment programs and supervised activities in the public schools. Summer and after-school job and volunteer opportunities should also be expanded so that young people can experience the dignity and responsibility that comes with honest work. Evidence shows that providing these opportunities to youth helps to lower the drop-out rate and reduce the number of young people who commit crime.

Zero Tolerance for Domestic and Sexual Violence. As part of its charge, Patrick's Anti-Crime Council will devise model initiatives to prevent, report, intervene in and prosecute domestic and sexual violence, and to support victims and families. Patrick's administration will create a comprehensive network in the Commonwealth that combines local police departments, the courts, victim advocates, community-based agencies, the faith community, schools, state agencies, and the media so victims of these crimes can come forward and find justice, and above all break the cycle of intergenerational violence.

Improve Law Enforcement Training. Today's law enforcement officers face more challenges than ever. With the rise in gang violence, illegal guns and drug trafficking, terrorists and biohazard threats, this is the wrong time to starve local and state law enforcement of training resources. Patrick's plan will equip these men and women with the most comprehensive professional training and the best quality equipment possible so they can meet the growing challenges of their job adequately, while also respecting the civil rights and liberties of us all.

Reform Corrections and Supervise Re-Entry. For the sake of both cost containment and public safety, Massachusetts will have to refocus our corrections system on the dual tasks of punishment and rehabilitation. Patrick's administration will ensure that correctional professionals have the power to manage their facilities; that corrections policies and sentencing practices are modified, consistent with security and safety, to allow effective classification and preparation for re-entry; that inmates are prepared - through skills training, education and substance abuse treatment - to leave prison less dangerous than when they went in, and that they are effectively supervised upon release on probation or parole; that corrections, parole and probation officers are accountable, free from politics and fully supported; that the serious and unique needs of women in corrections are addressed; and that the mental health and health care challenges facing people in the corrections system get the support they need.

Expand Economic Opportunity. The best and cheapest form of public protection is prevention. The best way to prevent street and violent crime of any kind is to ensure that everyone has a job and economic opportunity and a stake in our society and communities. Patrick's economic plan will create an expanding economy and envisions greater public and private investment in skills and job training, with programs and centers serving as small business incubators.

Model Public Integrity. Public confidence in our institutions and leaders, public and private, is low. Where money and power intersect, poor leadership and bad policy have flourished. The Patrick administration will assure independent, professional oversight of large public expenditures, such as the Big Dig. Patrick will also encourage a greater emphasis on prosecution of corporate corruption and malfeasance by strengthening our white-collar crime laws and sentences.

Prior to announcing his candidacy in April 2005, Patrick held the top civil rights post in President Clinton's Justice Department, and served as general counsel and a senior executive at Coca-Cola and Texaco. He has also been a partner at two Boston law firms and lawyer for the NAACP's Legal Defense & Education Fund. Patrick's grassroots campaign has over 6,000 volunteers and has raised more than $4 million, including more than $800,000 in donations raised through the campaign's website,

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