[ed_note]We received the following message from Dan Winslow, a candidate for the 9th Norfolk Representative District[/ed_note]
Police Officer Safety, Arresting Serial Criminals, and New Ideas for Funding without Increasing Tax Burden Top the List of Proposals
State Representative candidate Dan Winslow today made a series of reform proposals to cut crime and improve police and public safety, without spending more tax dollars. Winslow, who served as the Presiding Justice of the Wrentham District Court, said, â€œWe need new ideas to solve old problems to get Massachusetts working again. These reforms, and others, will improve public safety and police officer safety, reduce crime, and improve our criminal justice system without costing additional tax monies.â€ Winslow is campaigning on a platform of problem solving in state government and has promised to be innovative and â€œadvance the power of ideas to solve problemsâ€ if elected to the Massachusetts House.
The reforms, all of which could be enacted by the Legislature, include:
- Awarding forfeited bail to police departments that arrest defendants who default on court appearances. â€œWith rare exception, no one is looking for defendants who skip out on court. Local police departments cannot take on the burden of arresting the same person two, three or four times without additional resources. This reform will help fund the cost of searching for and arresting defaulters and help prevent layoffs of public safety personnel who are needed now more than ever.â€
- Requiring judges to consider a defendantâ€™s status as an illegal immigrant in setting the amount of bail. â€œIllegal immigrants who commit crimes in Massachusetts have a powerful incentive to disappear from future court dates, but the existing law does not require judges to take a defendantâ€™s lawful immigration status into account when setting bail. It should. Regardless of the federal debate about immigration reform, I think most people will agree that unlawful immigrants who commit crimes are an unacceptable risk to our citizens.â€
- Creating a priority warrant system to protect police officers from dangerous defendants. â€œWith rare exception, all default warrants are put into the same category of warrant with no distinction between shoplifters who default and child molesters and armed robbers who default. I propose to create higher priority warrants for persons with a history of violence or who pose a danger to police and the public. A police officer needs to know instantly what he or she is dealing with when running warrant checks during lawful stops.â€
- Enforce the bail jumping law. Existing law provides an additional penalty for defendants who jump bail or skip court dates. Incredibly, despite high default rates, most prosecutors do not charge defaulters under the bail jumping law. They should. â€œIf elected, I will make sure that prosecutors are enforcing the bail jumping law or justifying in their budgets why the additional revenues from fines are not being collected from persons who default on court appearances.â€
â€œThese reforms will help our communities to support public safety and protect cops and citizens from harm. They donâ€™t cost any more money but itâ€™s a smarter use of money we already spend.â€
Winslow is running for State Representative in the 9th Norfolk House district, consisting of the towns of Plainville, Wrentham, Norfolk, and parts of Millis, Walpole and Medfield. The Wrentham District Court included five of the six towns in the House district.
Winslow’s full proposal can be read on his website.