A resolution was proposed jointly by all 11 city councilors at Monday’s meeting demanding that the Mayor’s office and Chief of Police “notify the Council of any significant issues affecting the City of Everett or its residents in an expedited manner.”
The measure was introduced in the aftermath of two area stabbings within 10 days, the second of which resulted in the death of a 54-year-old man. A suspect is currently in custody.
Councilors said they had been approached by constituents about the stabbings, but could not provide any information or comfort because they hadn’t yet heard about them and didn’t know what actions had been taken by law enforcement, if any. They said they had learned about the incidents through the news media.
Councilor Fred Capone called the lack of communication from the administration a “recurring issue.”
“As elected officials, we should be more involved in the process,” he said.
Councilor Simonelli said that sometimes the City Council is “the last to know” when an incident has occurred.
“It’s embarrassing to the councilors,” Councillor John Hanlon said. “I want to know that something happened and that [emergency services] is investigating.”
Councillor Michael McLaughlin backed his colleague, stating, “It’s important for us to be on the same page [as the administration] to notify the neighbors [about] issues like this.”
“If there’s a slasher in the city of Everett, we should know about it,” said Councilor Wayne Matewsky. “This guy was walking around one of the nicest streets in Everett.”
Matewsky also evoked the imminent casino opening as another reason why there should be a concerted effort on the part of the City to bring alerts to the public at large.
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio said that word from the administration could have allowed her to alert her constituents to lock their doors.
“When something happens in our ward, we don’t want to hear it on the news,” she said.
Councilors emphasized that they weren’t looking to get involved in any investigations by law enforcement, but simply wanted to be made aware of important developments. They suggested a number of ways the City could do that.
“Give us a call, text message or email to let us know what’s going on,” said Councillor DiFlorio.
Councilor Capone suggested a robocall alert system to notify many people on their mobile devices simultaneously. He even went so far as to say that better communication following the first stabbing might have prevented the fatal stabbing from occurring.
“I understand criminal investigation is very sensitive and you don’t want to unnecessarily alarm residents,” he said. “But if there had been a robocall, there would have been heightened awareness.”
Councillor Capone also suggested that someone contact the Council members directly following an incident, or the Council President who can then inform the body.
The Council voted to refer the issue to the Mayor and the Everett Chief of Police, with McLaughlin and Capone requesting that the Mayor address the issue in writing.
“However it’s going to transpire, I’d like a written response to know how to go forward,” said Councillor McLaughlin.
The Everett Police Department did not return a voicemail from Independent asking if it currently posts real-time crime alerts on any of its social media accounts. The Everett Police does have an active Facebook page that from time to time does post criminal matters, but a transition is currently ongoing with the administration of that page.