The City Council’s public safety subcommittee will be working closely with City Manager Fidel Maltez and Police Chief Keith Houghton for the foreseeable future to address youth violence and other safety concerns in Chelsea.
The increased cooperation among the city’s stakeholders is a result of a recent public safety subcommittee meeting held at the police department.
“We had a very fruitful meeting with the chief; we met the command staff and had a tour of the station, and at that time we decided that we wanted to continue our conversations, particularly given the uptick of crime in the city of late, specifically as involves the youth,” said District 5 Councilor and safety subcommittee chair Lisa Santagate.
The council approved an order introduced by Santagate to hold public safety subcommittee meetings with the police chief and city manager every two weeks.
Councilor-at-Large Kelly Garcia thanked Santagate and the subcommittee for acting quickly to address safety concerns in the city.
“As a member of this subcommittee on public safety, I can attest to the level of interest this council has taken on the ongoing, increasing, slightly, though increasing violence in our city,” said District 7 Councilor Manuel Teshe. “We are no stranger to that, but at the same time, I want to say that we are better prepared than ever to be tackling those issues. The conversations with our city manager, the chief of police, and our superintendent, I have confirmed that Chelsea is more than ready to be tackling those challenges and those issues that are most pressing to us.”
Teshe noted the police department is already piloting a Youth Hub program, which is a support system for youth that are facing challenges and may have no other support systems.
District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor praised the public safety subcommittee for its transparency and taking a proactive approach to issues in the city.
“I also want to let people out in the public know, this is my third term on the city council, and for the first time since I’ve been here, I really feel a willingness for this council to really work together in order to solve these problems,” said Taylor.
In addition, Taylor said that the council hopes to prioritize a commitment to strengthening youth sports in the city as another avenue to help the young people in the city and funnel them towards constructive activities.