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City of Pawtucket, Police Department Establish Neighborhood Response Unit

Organizational changes made in keeping with consultant findings

The City of Pawtucket, under the Grebien Administration, continues to look to improve community involvement.  At the request of Mayor Don Grebien, Chief King and the Pawtucket City Council, review and consideration towards instituting a Neighborhood Response Unit, formerly known as the Community Policing Unit, was explored by Berkshire Advisors, the consulting firm hired by the City to complete a top-to-bottom assessment of the Pawtucket Police Department. The department has incorporated several of the proposed organizational changes recommended in Berkshire’s report.

Months ago, the administration, in the interests of public safety and to assure we are providing the maximum efficiency and effectiveness by our police service for the most reasonable cost, engaged Berkshire Advisors to analyze the operations of the Pawtucket Police Department. The scope of the analysis provided by Berkshire Advisors delved into all aspects of the department. Berkshire interviewed members of the community, business owners, Department employees, members of the administration, and City Council, in addition to their quantitative analysis of departmental operations. Among their findings, were recommended changes to the organizational structure of the Department.

Reorganization within the department has led to the establishment of the new Neighborhood Response Unit (NRU). The NRU will be led and directed by Captain Michael Newman, an 18-year veteran of the Department. The City’s 6 School Resource Officers (SRO), along with the City’s 30 crossing guards, will report directly to Captain Newman as a community-based approach will be taken to addressing all school-related issues going forward. Captain Newman was awarded the position through an open bid process within the department in keeping with the collective bargaining agreement in place between the City and the Pawtucket Police Department.

In his capacity as director of the NRU, Captain Newman will also serve as a police liaison to neighborhood groups and social organizations such as the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association, Fairlawn Against Crime Team (FACT), the Quality Hill Neighborhood Association, the Oak Hill Neighborhood Association and other local community organizations. “The Neighborhood Response Unit will enable us to have a better understanding of the issues that are important to residents and be more responsive to the needs of the community,” said Captain Newman of the NRU.

“Captain Newman and the NRU will be able to address some of the complex neighborhood issues with a deeper understanding of those issues than a patrol officer on a beat, who might not be able to dedicate the same amount of time and resources as the NRU,” stated Chief of Police Paul King.

Public Safety Director Antonio Pires is in agreement with Chief King. “Captain Newman has a tremendous reputation amongst his peers in the Department, as well as amongst members of the Pawtucket Community,” said Pires speaking on Newman as the leader of the NRU. “Having been intricately involved in community affairs over the course of his career and as someone who cares greatly about Pawtucket, I can think of no person better-suited to lead the City’s community policing effort,” continued Pires.

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"The birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Pawtucket is poised to undergo a 21st century evolution into Rhode Island's premier arts and cultural destination, an ideal community to live, work, play, start a business and raise a family."

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