UPDATE: New Bedford Police offered a statement to WBSM on the scheduling of mental health clinicians, as did Child and Family Services.

“Showing up is the key to success” is a commonly agreed upon truth.

A plaque with that quote should be hanging up in the office of the New Bedford Police mental health advocates.

Over the July 4 weekend, all the mental health advocates had the long weekend off. Sources and scanner traffic indicated that the police officers were at work but the advocates were with family and friends enjoying the festivities of a long summer holiday weekend. How do all the advocates get that long weekend off from work?

That weekend, the city police faced a suspect who fired a life-changing bullet at them before he turned the gun on himself. Could an advocate have helped in that situation? We will never know.

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Our national birthday has lots of opportunities for civilian advocates, given the family and friends gathering, and in many cases, the excess alcohol consumption.

The fact that no civilian advocates would be available to serve the people of New Bedford was made known at the start of the weekend when an officer asked for a civilian advocate to assist a woman with a domestic violence crime and an emergency restraining order. The officer was told there are no advocates working all weekend long.

As was predictable, there were other situations needing the advocates who weren’t available that weekend in New Bedford. Was it poor scheduling by management or something else that kept the advocates away for the long holiday weekend?

Nobody really wants to work the holidays but unfortunately someone has to work in law enforcement, unless you are a civilian advocate of the Family Services Division of the police department. What makes the civilian advocates so special – or not so special – that they aren’t required or needed to work a long holiday weekend?

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