Chelsea Creates Community Public Task Force

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

At its December 13, 2021 meeting, the Chelsea City Council voted to create the Community Public Safety Task Force. The group's purpose is to assist the City Council in prioritizing the recommendations outlined in the Bobcat Police Operational Audit.

See article: Chelsea City Council Moves Forward with Results of Bobcat Police Audit

A draft structure of the task force was submitted to the Council.

“I’d say the recommendations are a great draft,” said Councilmember Feeney. “The timeline is probably much to people's dismay, may actually even be a little ambitious. It's just going to be a lot of work to do.”

The draft outlines the role of the group as:

  • Helping formulate a strategic planning process for the City of Chelsea.
  • Studying advisory/oversight committees in communities similar to Chelsea and making recommendations for possible adoption of a long-term oversight committee.
  • Gathering stakeholder input and making recommendations as a result.

City Manager John Hanifan offered the following recommendations for the task force’s role:

  • Research and summarize for City Council the process and cost to update Chelsea Police Department Policies.
  • Research, review, and summarize the cost of training and/or additional training.
  • Research and identify methods of supervision, including the overall staffing, command staff, and succession planning.
  • Review and improve, where necessary, accountability standards in accordance with City Policies and Collective Bargaining Agreement (s).
  • Review and recommend opportunities for cooperation with community partners.

The draft suggested the task force be comprised of 10-12 members with a structure as follows:

  • 2 City Council Members
  • 2 Chelsea Police Department Representatives (including Chief of Police)
  • 1 Member of the City of Chelsea Human Rights Commission
  • 1 Chelsea Area School District Representative
  • 1-2 City of Chelsea Business Community
  • 1-2 Member of the Youth Community
  • 1-2 Member of the Senior Community

City Staff will attend meetings and support Task Force. The members will assign two co-chairs.

Draft timeline for the task force is:

  • December 13, 2022: Council approves Community Public Safety Task Force
  • February 7, 2022: Council appoints Task Force members
  • May 2, 2022: Draft Task Force Recommendations Presented to the City Council
  • June 6, 2022: Final Task Force Recommendations Presented to City Council

In response to Feeney’s observation of the timeline, Councilmember Ruddock said, “An approach to take would be to give the task force this timeline and tell them to accomplish as much as they can't in the time that they've been allotted.”

“That's called timeboxing and project management terms,” he explained. “And by timeboxing, they come back with everything they can get done. It's better to do that than have a long project with lots of objectives that they may never get to.”

“I believe that the task force is truly going to be taking ownership of this of this project,” said Councilmember Iannelli. “Since they do own this project, I think they will have the flexibility to move that timeline out a little bit.”

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