Mayor huddles with colleagues to discuss drug crimes, violence

Mayor Carlo DeMaria was one of a number of local leaders who met earlier this week to discuss ways to snuff out the violence and drug trafficking leading to it during a meeting with Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan of the Executive Office of Public Safety.

The meeting was held Monday afternoon at the State House.

On the table for discussion was the plethora of violence and drug dealing affecting the cities and towns represented and what to do about it.

DeMaria, Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, Revere Mayor Thomas Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Jim McKenna were present.

Police chiefs from the various communities were also present.

The State and nearly all its municipalities are experiencing tremendous financial pressures and, therefore, are challenged to find new resources to address any new initiatives.

DeMaria pressed for answers and Heffernan responded favorably to the description of the issues municipalities are facing and the potential solutions that have been identified.

“Especially well received was the notion that a regional approach to addressing the public safety concerns was a strategy that could produce deeper, more sustaining results,” DeMaria told the Independent.

“She really seemed to listen and to be eager to find new solutions to our recurring problems with violence and drugs,” he added.

In addition, DeMaria said the police need wider powers to stem the tide of violence and to stop the flow of drugs in the community.

“Police need to be able to stop known troublemakers causing problems all the time,” he added.

Chelsea’s city manager Ash came to the meeting as state and Chelsea police were involved in two homicide investigations that happened over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Chelsea has experienced a wave of violent homicides in recent months.

Ash said he had concluded that the best way of reducing the rates of violence was to address the drug activity, and that law enforcement professionals speculate that as much as 80-90% of the violence in our communities stem from drug activities.

“If we can solve the drug problem, the violence will be solved along side of it,” Ash said.

Revere’s Mayor Ambrosino spoke about crime having no boundaries.

“A regional approach is needed,” he said.

“Such a strategy could produce deeper, more sustaining results,” he added.

Winthrop’s town manager McKenna pointed to the fact that everyone present had already signed a cooperation agreement and that that was evidence of the resolve each of the respective police departments had in working together to solve each others crime problems.

“We are much stronger working together than by ourselves,” he said.

Secretary Heffernan said she would meet with the governor to discuss priorities.

All present agreed that Federal funding should be sought for initiatives intended to change the course of local crime history.

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