NEW BEDFORD — Authorities from New Bedford's police and fire departments are downtown this afternoon as part of a large cleanup effort in the city.

Fire crews, street sweepers, and other city employees could be seen hosing down sidewalks and clearing litter and other debris outside the post office and bus station, according to WBSM's Barry Richard, who was at the scene.

New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira was spotted speaking with a group of people on the sidewalk.

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He told them that mental health, homelessness, and addiction services would be provided.

"I heard that for three days, from three different people," said one woman.

"No, listen, services are gonna be coming down. You have my word on it," said Oliveira. "We will get police services and social services down here."

Oliveira told Richard that this is just the first step of what will be an ongoing effort.

"We want to try to clean up the area here, we noticed there was a lot of litter, a lot of debris," he said, adding that police will work with the local businesses and 'wraparound,' or holistic, social services.

"Police are gonna be involved, but it's really gonna be an entire citywide effort to try to get these people the services they need," he said. "It's not a one-day thing."

"It's not gonna do us any good to come down here and just keep making arrests every single day," he added. "We can, but we realize — with the court system, they're going to be right back out the next day."

"There's people there that need help, whether it's mental health, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, homelessness. Those are the real issues that need to be addressed."

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