Community Safety Working Group

Welcome to the home page for the Community Safety Working Group. 

Committee Details

Type: Ad Hoc Limited
Legal Reference: Charter Section 3.2, Committees created by the Manager 
Apointing Authority: Town Manager in accordance with Charter Section 3.3.c 
# of Voting Members: Nine (9)
Term: All appointments expire September 1, 2021
Special Municpal Employee: Yes
Staff Support:  Town Manager, Police Chief, and other staff as needed.


Member Appointed Expiration
Tashina Bowman 2020 2021
Debora Ferreira 2020 2021
Pat Ononibaku 2020 2021
Brianna Owen, Vice-Chair  2020 2021
Russ Vernon-Jones 2020 2021
Ellisha Walker  2020 2021
Paul Wiley, Chair  2020 2021
Vacant    2021
Vacant    2021
Jennifer Moyston, Staff Liaison     

Composition: Nine voting members

  • No fewer than six of the nine voting members shall represent Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or other historically marginalized communities.
  • The Working Group shall elect its own chair and vice-chair.


The purpose of the Community Safety Working Group is to (a) make recommendations on alternative ways of providing public safety services to the community and (b) make recommendations on reforms to the current organizational and oversight structures of the Amherst Police Department.


The Working Group shall:

  • Study the complex issues of delivering community safety services – currently provided through the police department and other means –to ensure racial equity;
  • Recommend reforms to the current organizational and oversight structures;
  • Examine existing Town funding priorities for delivering community safety services. 

The Working Group can achieve this by:

  • Learning from previous work by the Town through previous studies and committees;
  • Examining current public safety services and how they are delivered;
  • Reviewing policies, complaints, and current training practices;
  • Exploring models of resident oversight of police departments;
  • Collecting data from people’s experiences in Amherst;
  • Engaging the communities most impacted by policing to develop alternatives and identify solutions to diagnosed problems;
  • Investigating alternative models such as:
    • Eugene “Cahoots” - Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Street;
    • Albuquerque - Community Safety Alternative;
    •  Denver STAR –Support Team Assisted Response.                                     


  • Written report to the Town Manager by January 15, 2021 on alternative options to public safety services currently provided by the Amherst Police Department.
  • Written report to the Town Manager by June 30, 2021 on recommendations for resident oversight and for policy reforms for the Amherst Police Department. 


Charge Adopted: 09-21-2020 by the Town Manager

Charge Revised: 

SME Status Voted: 11-09-2020 by Town Council

Next Meeting Date
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
5:30 pm 
Zoom Link Coming soon