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July 20 Public Forum On Groton Police Dept. Policies & Practices

There will be a public forum Monday, July 20 at 7 p.m. – online via ZOOM. If you wish to participate, the ID is: ZOOM ID 836 5696 5811.
This will be a Moderator-guided discussion of existing Town and Police Department Policies and Practices with Groton Select Board and Groton Police Department. Learn how local officers respond now and understand the foundation for future discussions of priorities and alternatives.
     There will be a moderator, a Select Board Representative, GPD Representatives including Chief Michael Luth, Sergeant Rachel Mead, Training and Accreditation Officer Gordon Candow, a Question Compiler, and a Technical Zoom Guru.
     Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian said, “The intent here is to have an open and respectful conversation about our local community with a focus on the Police Department. As moderator, I have the ability to mute or remove participants should there be an issue of some sort. We have been publicizing this event and have shared some data via those media postings."
     She said the forum would be recorded and re-broadcast via Groton Cable Access. She said it is not known whether this is the first in a series of conversations or a one-time event. She said the organizers tried to anticipate some more common questions in advance and those would be addressed first. After the prepared questions there will be time to take questions via the chat feature of Zoom. Questions will be reviewed for clarity and to make sure that they are constructive to the community conversations.
     Manugian said, “Being an elected official, I as Chair of the Select Board, will address the political and non-police related questions and concerns. We are fortunate as a community to have a PD open to conversations such as these. While every organization has room for improvement, we have not seen here the egregious behaviors that other places are struggling with.”
     These are some of the instructions for participants, and possible questions participants may have:
1. Please each introduce yourself and say a few words about your background and role(s) here in Groton.
2. Help us understand what the term Community Policing means in Groton’s PD?
3. Groton PD is unionized; are you part of a state or national Police Union? Do the state or national unions mandate specific policies?
4. Governor Baker has proposed state-wide certification and licensing of Police Officers. Do you support this idea? Do you believe your union(s) support this idea?
5. Please tell us about Groton’s "Use of Force Policy"
6. Does Groton PD use body cameras or vehicle cameras now? Do you see a need for body cameras? Is there any downside to use of these tools?
7. I understand that Groton PD is a member of NEMLEC. What is NEMLEC and what do they do?
8. Groton has Police Officers in our schools, called School Resource Officers. What do they do?
9. What information is available about calls for GPD? Are there non-fire calls where you share a responsibility with another type of first responder? Are there tasks that are routinely done by GPD that could be done by others with similar impact?
10. What about the idea of re-allocating some of the Police budget to Social Services Agencies? Does Groton PD have access to Social Services Agencies for assistance?
11. Racist police practices and unconscious bias have been in the news recently. How does the GPD approach these topics internally and what does the GPD traffic stop data look like. What trainings has GPD had to identify and alter bias and have they been optional or mandatory?
12. How much/what kind of diversity training has been done/ is standard for Groton Police Officers? Can more be done? When you are hiring or doing performance reviews, what do you look for/ evaluate on?
13. You are working toward achieving Certification for Groton PD. What does that mean, and what are the requirements we still need to meet?
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