New Bedford Gun Violence Must Be Confronted [OPINION]
Two shooting incidents in New Bedford broke the early morning still on Saturday, further shattering the myth that violent crime is under control here. The shootings occurred as the ongoing feud between the news media and the secretive Mitchell Administration has reached a fever pitch over the administration's refusal to make information about crime available to the public in a timely manner.
Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro defended his decision not to notify the public that a gunman had fired eight rounds at a police officer's home. Unfortunately, Cordeiro also failed to immediately inform most police officers in New Bedford and the surrounding communities, a decision that placed their lives in jeopardy. For days, Mayor Jon Mitchell's administration defended Cordeiro's actions even after it became clear that Cordeiro had misrepresented the truth.
This debacle is only the latest example of how this administration has attempted to control the message. All of the secrecy could be about Mitchell's image or about the image of the city as a whole. Either way, it is dishonest and is certainly not transparent.
Early Saturday, two people were shot on Tallman Street, and police responded to a separate incident at Maxfield and Emerson Streets where there were no apparent victims. The police department was quick to release information concerning those incidents later on Saturday morning (following an email request from WBSM News), offering hope that perhaps a new era of cooperation is about to dawn. Given past experience, I wouldn't hold my breath.
New Bedford has a problem with gun violence. I know it, you know it and the Mitchell Administration knows it, too. To deny it is foolish and nonproductive. Mayor Mitchell needs to come out of his office and spend some time in the community – not just once in a while, but often. Be straight with the people about what is happening and lead the fight to make New Bedford safe again.
All of that begins with being honest, transparent, and visible.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.