New Hampshire city of Rochester to decide on Police Commission

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October 31, 2011

New Hampshire

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire: In the city of Rochester, residents will vote on November 8 whether they want to get rid of the City Police Commission. This is a proposed charter amendment which was added to the ballot in mid August, a vote of 'yes' would abolish the Police Commission as of January 2012. Residents have been asked twice before to abolish the Police Commission, but both times defeated the measure. The current role of the Police Commission includes setting salaries, hiring and firing all Rochester police officers and setting up the standard rules and regulations for operating the police department. If the Commission is abolished then the City Manager would take over their designated duties. One reason given for putting this question back on the ballot was that the Police Commission gave pay raises to members in the department but did not inform the City Council, they were taken by surprise at the increase. Further members of the City Council note that the Police Commission is just another added layer of bureaucracy which is not needed in the city. The Commission consists of three members, but if it were dissolved the twelve members of the Council would be the liaisons with residents if they had issues with the police department. Arguments against the measure are that the Police Commission acts as a needed buffer between the city and residents, it allows for dedicated members to just deal with police issues.[1]

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