NORWICH – During the public hearing portion of last week’s common council meeting, Norwich residents and common council members expressed their thoughts on the new police reform plan.
The City of Norwich Police Department Collaborative Improvement Plan was created by the Community Advisory Board, or CAB, which has held weekly meetings focusing on the reform since September 2020. These meetings have yielded several recommendations to improve the Norwich Police Department, both in the short and long term.
Among the recommendations were an increase in support to officers responding to mental health and substance abuse calls. Survey results stated in the reform plan showed the greatest concern among residents were, “Mental Health Crises/High Risk Behaviors,” with “Substance Abuse/Drugs” being a close second.
Another issue covered in the reform plan was the lack of community outreach and interaction by the Norwich Police Department. About 36 percent of surveyed residents stated that the NPD “Does little or nothing to communicate with community members.” This is something Norwich resident Harry Graves finds troubling.
During the common council meeting, Graves stated that “there’s no interaction with the public, and that saddens me very greatly.” He also said that he no longer knows who the Norwich policemen are, which is something he misses.