Councilor wants to offer detail work to retired cops

At-large Councilor Michael Flaherty will ask his fellow councilors to back a change in state law that would let Boston offer detail work on road projects and at concerts and arenas to retired BPD officers, easing a shortage of detail officers and filling city coffers with extra money.

Flaherty says his proposal would bring Boston in line with 175 other cities and towns in the state. In his request to the council for a hearing on the proposal, he says Boston just doesn't have enough police officers to fill all the detail requests it gets and estimates that the city could earn an extra $3 million a year in fees from the new details. He adds:

Retired Boston Police Officers have years of superior training, knowledge of the law, familiarity with city streets, and decades of invaluable experience that make them ideal candidates to fill detail assignments and increase police presence throughout the city.

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Comments

So who pays for the insurance

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So who pays for the insurance if one of these retired cops gets hurt or hurts someone?

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That could be solved

The issue of liability could be addressed by just paying the detail officer and not requiring that he or she show up at the site.

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Why would this

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fill the city coffers with money? Doesn't the money paid for the detail go straight to the police officer or, in this case, the retired police officer?

Or just pay non-cops 10/hr to

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Or just pay non-cops 10/hr to do it.....no wait...unions.... that will be 80 bucks per hour to sit in my car please!

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My understanding is they fill

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My understanding is they fill details offered by other departments within the city. They also never reciprocate by offering their unfilled work to these departments. If there are non-retired officers looking for overtime why dust off the retirees? How much of a "police presence" can a, I'm guessing relatively powerless, retiree provide?

MBTA

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I would think the MBTA might have a few officers that would take Boston details.

I dont want my 80+ yo

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Grandfather doing details! So who's liable when he slips and brakes his hip? Use flagmen and more cops would be available to preform details at events.

I know it hard guys, but try just once to use common sense.

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Use some of that common sense

Use some of that common sense to understand that the most likely WON'T be soliciting 80 year old retires with questionable health issues to work these details. C'mon

health issues?

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Who said anything about "Health Issues", i just saying he's old as ______! So the city should then prepare itself for an age discrimination suit?

If an 80 year old wants to be

If an 80 year old wants to be in the rotation, I'm sure they can find a particular detail for him that doesn't require someone more able bodied. These details probably carry requirements and more likely probably require a physical/medical clearance to be on call.

Or...

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Get rid of roadwork details and "bring Boston in line" with 40-some-odd other states

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You could do that....

But the city would lose about a million dollars a year, and would have to probably pay the officers more when the contract come up, probably similar to what they do with CT and NY police departments do with pensionable overtime and more of their health insurance paid.

Know any companies willing to

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Know any companies willing to do it for less than ~40 / hour? Don't forget the flagging company would have to cover insurance, SS, healthcare and other costs before paying the employee...

$40 hrs is

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A lot better than $100+ hr. Just saying!

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A lot of the rest of the

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A lot of the rest of the state uses flagmen thanks to Patrick, but Menino refused to switch (his son is a cop). So we are stuck with the high cost police details. The money isn't free, it adds to event costs, prices out many free events, adds to contraction (housing, office, roads, utility, etc) costs. We all pay a premium on all these things for this perk to cops, who are already paid extremely high and just got a raise. Hopefully Walsh brings Boston in line with the rest of the state, this will solve this "shortage" the city council is huffing about and save all of us money.

Serious, non-snarky question

Why are details overtime? Why isn't it set up so that the city charges for the detail and then assigns an officer who is on the clock at regular time?

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Some answers

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They're not quite overtime. Rates are based on rank and not the officer's regular salary. See http://www.cityofboston.gov/arts/film/permitting.asp Most details would be filled by an officer if available, though sites requiring multiple officers - e.g. concerts - will often require that a senior officer be hired as well.

I think your suggestion would require hiring many more officers. The problem is detail numbers aren't uniform. There's more construction during the summer. There's more Sox games during the summer. There's more concerts on weekends. Things like that make it hard to have a regularly scheduled number of officers on duty to cover details.

The current system isn't perfect, but good alternatives seem hard to find. You'd probably need some combination - Avicii concerts and cutting a tree on a side street in West Roxbury are very different things.

Because no dept is

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Because no dept is overflowing with officers, capable of doing everything the public expects, AND man those construction jobs

It isn't overtime.

It's a specific rate that the company pays. (Depends on road work, main streets, side streets, city departments, etc)

If you need 12 officers to answer patrol calls for a district, you can't compromise public safety having those officers work details for private companies. If its boston water and sewer, they will send officers on straight time if there are extra on a shift, and not pay them at all, but for the most part, the police districts are staffed so there are no extra officers.

Why do we need police to do details ?

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Why do we need police to do these details when a flagman would work just as well at lower cost?

Just today, I passed a detail of a utility company working in a manhole that was on the sidewalk. Note that the utility truck, hole, and all associated equipment was on the sidewalk in front of the Boston Public Library, just across from the outbound T entrance. As I was waiting to cross the street, the light changed from green to red for the Boylston St traffic, then the walk sign for the pedestrians came on, and then a white panel truck gunned it through the red light just before the pedestrians started to cross the street. The detail cop, one of Boston's finest, just watched the entire thing. As I got over to the other side of the street, I asked the cop if he was going to do anything about the van that ran the red light - no response, he just stared at me. I asked again, with no response. After a while, the cop went back to staring down the hole.

When we have details cops that do their job, it can be worth the expense, particularly when it involves traffic on a busy street or road. But when the detail cops are just there to look at the utility crew or the hole in the ground, why are they being employed. They are not increasing the safety for the drivers or the pedestrians that must negotiate the work going on.

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In more earnest and honest places

..like Seattle, they let idiots like me do flagging for 10 bucks an hour.

You may have to get certified to be a flagger, which is like a few weeks of sessions in a community college class. Mass may be one of the last two states that do this, maybe the last.

I heard Virginia was the other.

In that tax free utopia to the north, they don't even bother with certifying. They just put some bubba on the road with a safety orange vest, a hardhat and a stop sign on a stick.

It's just another facet of the Masshole make-work way to get paid stupid money for minimal effort.

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This isn't a state problem,

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This isn't a state problem, Patrick changed the law, its not required anymore in MA to use police details, on many sites you can use flagmen. Menino refused though so Boston is stuck with them, blame him, but its not a problem statewide, blame Menino.

More like NO cops doing

More like NO cops doing details. I was driving on Morton St by where they are working on the bridge by the MBTA station the other day and saw 3 Staties sitting in their air conditioned cars doing absolutely nothing. I bet they were stoked that there's a Dunks right there. Oink! Oink! Oink!

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Maybe I'd be less annoyed by

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Maybe I'd be less annoyed by police details if local police were competent at directing traffic.

Most recent incident: a cop yelling "No left! No left!" at the top of his lungs, to stop two cars from turning into a street partially blocked by construction. He was halfway up the side block in the opposite direction from where the cars wanted to turn. There were no signs banning turns or saying the road was closed. How is this a safe and effective way to manage traffic at a construction site?

This idea is half baked.

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Worst idea I ever heard of.... so we are going to have old men running after crooks. What if they come across a crime in progress, are they going to pull out their gun? This idea is half baked. We hear all the time about the need to protect the details because police end up stopping crimes in progress (bank robberies, car crashed, shootings, etc.). A retired copy is not going to be able to do it. This idea is half baked...and offers more problems then it does solutions.