NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts — Walmart has officially rescinded its pledge to donate over $10,000 worth of ammunition to the Northampton Police Dept. after city officials fought over whether to accept the gift, reported MassLive.
The major corporation offered up the $13,000 worth of unwanted ammunition to NPD after Walmart stopped selling it at their Northampton location, but found serious pushback from City Councilors.
“It’s one thing to get a bus to transport children for educational purposes than with bullets, which are used for purposes that can kill people,” said Ward 7 Councilor Alisa Klein. “And the police do have to come under a particular type of scrutiny because of the power they hold, and the responsibility they have in our community is a particular kind of responsibility.”
— Raymond E. Foster (@policeofficer) December 25, 2018
Local citizens also voiced their concerns.
“This gift is a transaction between two incredibly powerful institutions,” said one townsperson. “Please begin having conversations about why NPD needs bullets in the first place.”
Mayor David Narkewicz stated that the 70,000 rounds of ammo would be used for training purposes at the department’s firing range. The apparent scrutiny over the offer was “unprecedented”, as typical donations from corporations are rarely discussed or prevented.
Not to mention, Narkewicz also claimed that he was unaware of any instance where an NPD officer has had to discharge their weapon since 1978.
So why is this gift such a heavily debated topic?
The apparent pulling of the offer was “communicated verbally” to a firearms instructor and came as a shock to Chief of Police Jody Kasper. In an email sent to Narkewicz, Kasper expressed concern over the “anti-police rhetoric” that the department continues to face.
“Within City Council chambers, matters involving the police department quickly shift to aggressive anti-police rhetoric from a small number of community members,” Kasper wrote to Narkewicz.
She went on to write, “Despite our dedication, recognition, and leadership in the field, we continue to experience a growing anti-police narrative in the very community that we serve so well.”
This only continues to show the growing divide between members of law enforcement and the general public. When citizens are stepping forward and calling for the disarming or reduced resources of police, everyone’s life is put in jeopardy.
Additionally, with growing morale issues in departments as well as struggles with recruitment and retention, we all need to be fighting a little harder for the ones who wear the badge and uniform.
At the end of the day, this donation would have saved the city precious dollars and would only bolster the safety of the community, but instead it leaves our brothers and sisters less trained and less prepared.