Public Safety: Perlatonda Says He is Ready to Discuss Commissioner Idea

After a blow up at last week’s City Council meeting over the proposal to discuss having a Police Commissioner, District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda said he is not giving up on the idea and only hopes for a discussion.

“I’m still looking into the Police Commissioner thing and doing research this week,” he said on Tuesday. “We’ll see where it goes when it comes up next Monday. Maybe this is not the direction we need to go, but it’s on the table for discussion. It’s going to require a lot of work and some changes to the Charter if it’s the route we go. I’m still looking at it and I’m not done.”

Perlatonda was the focus of quite an argument at the end of last week, when councillors squared off against one another in a verbal argument over procedure. He was joined by councillors Leo Robinson and Giovanni Recupero in being the focus of the argument.

However, Perlatonda and his allies in the matter had more votes, winning a political battle 6-5.

The Police Commissioner matter is expected to come up again at next Monday’s meeting, Sept. 23.

One of the key arguments was whether to send the matter to the four-person Public Safety Committee or whether to put it before the entire Council in a Conference Committee – which was Perlatonda’s prerogative.

Perlatonda said this week that he never expected the controversy to brew up, and also didn’t expect to get a majority of councillors supporting him at the meeting.

“I didn’t talk to any of the councillor beforehand about this, so I didn’t expect all of them to vote in my favor,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that controversial to send it to conference. I thought that would have been a better idea to have all 11 minds hashing it out before we put a lot of work into it.”

Perlatonda also said he plans to keep shining light on what he sees as a public safety problem in Chelsea – though he did say he’s seen some positive signs lately.

“I have seen some cops on the streets walking lately, which is a good thing,” he said. “I’d like to see more of that.”

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