Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Press Release on Increased Number of Police Lawsuit

Safe Citizens Press Release

August 22, 2006

A group of concerned citizens and neighborhood activists has, this date, filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Boston City Council for failure to staff the Boston Police Department at the staffing level required by the city’s own Municipal Code of Ordinances.

The Municipal Ordinance, Chapter 11, Section 1.6 states that “additional officers shall be hired from time to time as needed so as to insure that the number of Police Officers on the force shall, at no time, be less than two thousand five hundred (2,500).”

Violence in the city continues to escalate at the highest rate in over ten years. As one tool in the city’s effort to control the escalating rate of shootings and homicides in Boston, 12 residents have put into formal request what residents around the city, and members of many crime watches and churches have been asking for, that there be more police on the streets of Boston and more detectives to work on the unacceptably low rate of solving crimes. Like many residents, the proponents in this action in Superior Court recognize that there are other tools that are effective means for addressing the violence in the city as well. An increased police presence and a better clearance rate are just two of the tools discussed as solutions. Such efforts as increasing the number of street workers, providing more summer jobs, reviewing the MCAS emphasis in order to cut down on the number of high school dropouts, providing more drug treatment centers, extending after-school programs, increasing the job training programs for high school graduates, stepping up the offensive to get guns off the streets, and providing drug and anti-gang units in each police precinct are complementing efforts to increasing the police presence.

This group of residents felt that requiring the City of Boston to abide by its own ordinances is a direct means that a resident can immediately undertake to help stop the violence in the city. And the residents are not alone in their reactions. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society both advocated for additional officers during the budget hearings in May, and former Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole was often reported as saying that the Boston Police Department needs 200 more officers in order to perform its job properly. We welcome the anticipated arrival of a new commissioner and extend a willingness to open a working dialogue with all communities across the city.

With an attrition rate in FY06 higher than the rate addition, the city needs to be more proactive in its approach to staffing. Proponents of this court action against the city for enforcement of its ordinances seek to have the Mayor and the City Council provide a specific plan to increase the number of police officers in innovative capacities over the next couple of years in order to provide the staffing levels prescribed in city ordinance 11-1.6. In addition, the proponents seek to reopen the discussions of staffing levels in the FY07 budget, in order to put in place more officers at a time when violence is currently on the increase.

The entire Lawsuit and our more detailed position paper may be viewed at:


For further information contact

Barry Mullen at 617-288-0818

Kevin McCrea at 617-267-2453

If interested in joining or helping out, email us at safecitizens@gmail.com

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