Manchester’s Safe Station initiative has always drawn these kinds of numbers of people from out of the city. This is nothing new. What is concerning, however, is that it appears as if the state’s program might actually be referring people to the city.
If true, be assured that this too, would be nothing new. Communities across the state have always sent their “problems” to Manchester, whether they be homeless, on welfare or in need of special education. The state, itself, is guilty of this, too. Take for example the “statewide” refugee resettlement program that drops about 90% of all refugees the state gets in the Queen City. That said, if the state’s Doorway program is adding to that, then it needs to be dealt with.
Former Mayor Ted Gatsas once floated the idea of billing the communities whose residents come through Safe Station on the Girard at Large Radio Show. He was, of course, condemned by some for it, including a certain political rival who is, in an election year, demanding the state do more to help the city cope with this problem while continuing to brag about improvements to Safe Station that make it more user-friendly.
In other words, on the one hand, Mayor Joyce Craig is praising improvements to the magnet that is Safe Station, and on the other, she’s complaining that the magnet is doing a better job of attracting the very people that have overwhelmed the city in a very negative way.
The magnet that is Safe Station needs to be reevaluated
When Governor Chris Sununu announced the Doorway NH program, Craig was adamant that Safe Station should remain and not be absorbed into the state’s program. Maybe that was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t. But the time has come to evaluate exactly what Safe Station is bringing into the city of Manchester.
It’s also time for both the city and the state to look at ordinances and laws. State law should not prevent police from arresting people at the scene of an overdose who are engaged in criminal activity. It’s encouraging people to engage in illicit drug activity knowing they can’t get arrested when they call for help with an overdose.
State law should not prevent someone who has ingested drugs from being arrested for having ingested them. If it’s a crime to possess it, it should also be a crime to use it. State law should not be the functional equivalent of “catch and release” by letting people go right back on the street after they’re arrested because they can’t “afford” bail.
We can’t afford to have them back on the street committing the very same crimes they were arrested for!
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