NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A comprehensive review of the New Bedford Police Department that took a year and a half to complete was made public on Thursday.
In February 2022, the department hired an outside consulting firm to ensure it’s following the best practices and procedures.
The list of recommendations is exhaustive, but key points include a restructuring of patrol districts, hiring more crime analysts, and modernizing their facilities.
Robert Wasserman, who works for Jenson Hughes, the consulting firm that conducted the review, said the department is moving ahead to be a model for other law enforcement agencies. He highly recommends the city consolidates its police headquarters and three active stations.
“The geography of New Bedford says they really ought to have two stations, but they need to be modern stations,” Wasserman explained. “One is [modern] right, now and one needs to be redone.”
Other recommendations include establishing a workplace anti-bias coordinator and making sure sergeants have a more consistent presence in the field.
New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira said his department is still rebounding from the pandemic and the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, which changed the profession significantly.
“Policing, I think, has changed more drastically in the last three years than ever before in the history of the profession,” he said.
That’s why, when he took over as chief in 2021, one of his goals was to get an in-depth analysis of how the department is functioning.
Oliveira said he’s already started implementing some of the recommendations, including making salaries more competitive, introducing body cameras, and establishing two non-union superintendent positions.
The full report is available on the New Bedford Police Department’s website.