***Focusing Police Expertise on Fighting Crime***
According to the FBI, the rate of violent crime in Boston is twice the rate of violent crime in NYC, and the rate of violence against women in Boston is four times the rate in NYC. The number of shootings in Boston through June is above the levels of last year, despite the wet weather. The rate at which we are solving crimes, such as murder, in Boston is not acceptable. The Boston Phoenix concluded “Simply put, the BPD’s homicide unit has the worst track record of any big city police department in the country.”
We understand in America that police work is a dangerous, stressful, professional job that requires qualified and committed individuals who are willing to stand on the front lines in protecting citizens. Each applicant to the Police Academy spends six months of intensive training learning how to serve and protect, becoming the finest public safety officers we can produce.
While the City of Boston ordinances require 2,500 police officers to be on the police force, Menino refuses to obey and instead he short staffs the police department at the expense of the City’s safety. It makes sense that we maximize the limited staffing of the police force and the comprehensive training they receive by concentrating their efforts on crime prevention and law enforcement. It is not logical to make a police officer work additional time doing detail work at road construction and other projects that can be done by less skilled members of our work force. In order To qualify to be a flagger in Massachusetts, a person merely has to pass four hours of training and pay a $175 fee to get certified. Clearly, our police officers are over qualified for construction details. It is hard enough for our police force to fight crime, without having to work additional hours directing traffic.
If I am elected Mayor, I will stop the practice of requiring police officers to handle non-crucial detail work. Instead, I will hire and train Boston residents in accordance with the Boston Jobs Policy (at least 10% women and at least 25% minorities) to do this work. I would also like to make this work available to Police Cadets who have passed through the Police Academy but can’t be hired as police officers until positions become available.
The benefits of this are many. We allow police officers to be at their best for their important job of public safety. We help to lower the unemployment rate in Boston by hiring residents to fill these jobs. We lower taxes for Boston residents by lowering the costs of construction to our roads, bridges and buildings in the City of Boston. This can help lower the cost of building housing as well.
Kevin McCrea says “We need to cut costs and find ways to make our streets safer. Ending police details accomplishes both objectives.”