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Chair of Pittsfield police advisory board wants ordinance changed so it can review Estrella report

Pittsfield police station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen
Pittsfield police station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The chair of the Pittsfield Police Advisory and Review Board is calling for the city council to revisitthe ordinance that governs it — so that the board can review the final police report on the police shooting of Miguel Estrella.

The advisory board is tasked with providing an impartial review of complaints brought by citizens regarding the police department.

Board Chair Ellen Maxon said when she asked Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn if the board would get to review the final police report on the shooting of Miguel Estrella, she learned because there was no citizen complaint filed, and because the report was not the result of a citizen complaint — under the ordinance — the board is not entitled to review it.

"But what not getting access to that did was really clarify how little involvement or power we have in the situation," she said.

Maxon said she'd like the board to be more involved -- and even have a board member be part of future investigations.

She said she is frustrated about the board's ability to affect change.

"These are all part-time (board) members with jobs, many of them. And I just don't know that this is the best vehicle to to create police reform," she said.

The advisory board was created in response to another shooting by a Pittsfield police officer — the 2017 shooting of 36-year-old Daniel Gillis.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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