We're excited to announce a Data Jam by Invest in Pittsfield this Saturday, February 27th from 1 - 4 PM. The purpose of the Data Jam is to cull police budget information from Pittsfield city council agendas, information that the city has been reluctant to provide. The work isn't hard but will take many hands. The description of the event is below. We hope to see you there!✊
As residents and stakeholders in the City of Pittsfield, we want the funding and tools to invest in a just, healthy, and safe future for Pittsfield.
We need to justly, ethically and responsibly invest our city budget in programs that promote health, encourage prosperity, and prevent violence.
Too many tasks and services are assigned to law enforcement--things like mental health first response, substance use support, youth mentorship and opportunity, violence prevention, and response to homelessness. These are essential services that law enforcement was never meant to provide, and the money flowing to the police department to manage the negative consequences of these challenges starves our city of programs and resources that our communities need to survive and thrive.
We also know that communities of color, especially Black communities, and marginalized communities are policed more often and more aggressively. The result is that some communities endure the disproportionate impacts of policing and involvement in the criminal legal system while still having to collaborate with police and courts to access essential services and resources.
Currently, a huge proportion of our city's budget goes to the Pittsfield Police Department, but it's actually hard to know exactly how much because the city doesn't make available a clear budget for the department that lays out all the sources and amounts of the department's funding.
In order to begin a conversation about whether we're investing the right amounts in the right places, we need to understand exactly how much money we spend on policing.
A data jam is a volunteer opportunity for people interested in how we invest in Pittsfield's future to gather and make light work of going through a huge amount of public documents by doing it together. Invest in Pittsfield collective members will provide training at the top of every hour (1:00, 2:00, and 3:00pm) on what to look for and where to find it.
For this specific task you will need:
-a computer with an internet connection
-very basic familiarity with how to use Google/Excel spreadsheets (entering data into columns, no calculation or formula work)
-the ability to skim read City Council agendas to look for specific information and find that information in the agenda packet.
Co-Chairs, Executive Committee
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