Fiorentini Previews 2020 Budget: Four Civilian Police Dispatchers to Relieve Patrolmen

Mayor James J. Fiorentini delivered remarks during the Haverhill Police Department's memorial service on May 27, 2019. (WHAV News photograph)

When Haverhill’s City Council meets Tuesday, June 4, Mayor James J. Fiorentini plans to present his 2020 budget, with a focus squarely on public safety and education.

On Friday, Fiorentini offered a sneak preview of what to expect, telling residents he intends to hire four civilian police dispatchers to relieve pressure on the already stretched department headed by Chief Alan R. DeNaro.

“Our top budget priorities are public safety and public education. In public safety, we’ll be adding four new civilian dispatchers to put four policemen on the street where we need them to continue to keep you safe,” Fiorentini hinted.

Fewer than 99 officers comprise Haverhill’s department in the wake of several retirements earlier this year.

According to 2017 FBI statistics presented to local leaders by Capt. Stephen J. Doherty Jr., that year, northeast communities typically have an average of 2.3 officers. Using those figures, Doherty said, the city should have closer to 145 officers total.

Fiorentini has long vowed to put more patrolmen back on the streets to combat what he calls an epidemic of “gangs, guns and drugs” in the City of Haverhill. In December, he nixed the Council’s request to convert a police patrolman’s job into a sergeant’s job. At the time, Councilor Michael S. McGonagle spearheaded a request for additional personnel, outlining the council’s public safety vision for more traffic stops or, for example, patrols to follow school buses.

“Right now, I want our police department to focus on gangs, guns and drugs. I always appreciate the Council’s input (and desire) to focus on speeding, but I want patrolmen—more Indians, less chiefs—so they can focus on gangs, guns and drugs,” Fiorentini said at the time.

Also a focus in Fiorentini’s 2020 budget is Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s “right size” classroom plan, free all-day kindergarten and free school breakfasts and lunches, he said.

WHAV plans to broadcast Tuesday night’s City Council meeting live only on 97.9 FM starting at 7 p.m.

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