Northampton seeks applicants for 15-member police commission


  • Northampton Police Station FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/16/2020 5:06:46 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A new commission that will look at policing in the city and suggest ways to change it is looking for members.

“Anyone who feels like their perspective would be important should apply,” said City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra. “I really encourage everyone to apply.”

The Northampton Policing Review Commission, a joint commission of the City Council and mayor’s office, was proposed after residents asked the City Council to make significant cuts to the Police Department budget.

The commission will look at department size, budget, use of force policies, recruitment and diversity policies, and reporting transparency, among other topics. It also will look at alternatives to current policing practices, and transitioning 911 calls related to mental health, houselessness and other noncriminal issues to civilian responders or social service agencies.

More than half of the 15-member group will be made up of those “who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or from other historically marginalized communities who have been targeted and harmed by U.S. policing practices,” reads the description of the commission. 

They are looking for people with all types of experience, Sciarra said. “It’s important to me that all experience is explored and valued. I’ve been very clear that experience can be that you're an academic who studied this your entire career, or it can be that you had your own personal interactions.”

Those interested in being on the commission should send a letter explaining why they want to participate to the mayor’s office and/or City Council by August 14. Letters can be emailed to and

“I want people to know that if a written narrative doesn't work for them, I’m open to receiving that information in another way,” Sciarra said, adding that a phone call or safe, socially-distanced meetup could be alternatives.

By early September, the mayor will appoint six members and the City Council will appoint nine members. The group will create a report with recommendations by March 18, 2021.

Greta Jochem can be reached at

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