McCrea would end police details

Mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea says he would emulate a pilot state program and hire civilians to handle flagging at construction sites - but also make detail work available to police cadets who can't get on the BPD because of budget constraints:

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.

His complete statement:

***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."

Kevin McCrea's full platform can be viewed at his website www.kevinmccrea.com.

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    Comments

    ouch...

    I have a feeling Kevin did not look at the exact numbers on this one. There needs to be detail reform to be sure, but I don't think he has a clue on how the system works.

    Details?

    By on

    Please - I like the numbers!

    numbers

    I think the City of Boston recieves more money in detail surcharges than it spends on police details. (the city gets $3-5? and hour for each police hour worked). Id say more than half of details are paid for by private companies that don't even involve public projects or ulitities (maybe Mcrea would keep those I dont know).

    As for the other ones, (utilities, roadwork, public construction) you would have to provide numbers to show that your ulitity bill would actually go down if a flagger was there instead, or your real estate tax bill would go down if city money was paying for the roadwork. I doubt they would and I don't think utility companies even care that much about it.

    But Im sure the cops would be thrilled. Most of them just had 25% of their salary cut from the state eliminating the quinn bill, I can only imagine their thoughts on this one.

    Probably a wash for the city

    By on

    They do charge - but I'm guessing the admin, systems, auditing etc. probably washes out any benefit the city gets (what are detail rates - about $35? So we are talking about a pretty meager 10-12% overhead charge - might not even cover the cost.

    Flaggers would be cheaper - but you're right - probably not by much due to union prevailing wage rules etc. Certainly no guarantees savings would be passed on either.

    Best idea is to get rid of them unless there's a real public safety issue. I have to pay a full 8 hour shift for some work coming up so the real workers can put up a lift - you're telling me the guy on the controls, who has a permit and I'm assuming has to be trained - it's union labor, can't watch out for the pedestrians. The only thing that might happen is the thing might break or topple over - don't see what good having a cop there is going to do - not like he's going to catch it if it falls over!

    the public safety issue.

    Well the guy in control of the lift isn't going to watch out for pedestrians. He wants to focus on the lift and should focus on the lift. Now I could see him having a helper or someone there looking out for pedestrians but it depends on where you are.

    A side street with little or no pedestrian traffic should not require anyone. But a busier street you would need someone that has the legal right to stop traffic and walk pedestrians into the street to assure their safety. And that person (cop or flagger) has to be there during the whole process and cant or shouldnt be focusing on the actual work itself.

    This is where we differ

    By on

    I don't think you need a cop to do that - in my travels around the country this is the only place where you have police perform this duty except in the rare occasion where there's a real public safety issue. You park the lift where the parked cars are next to the curb (no disruption to traffic) and it extends over the sidewalk - I see no need for a cop, flagger or other safety person. I haven't heard/seen any rash of OSHA related accidents in other places because they don't have a cop directing pedestrian traffic.

    I didnt say

    you needed a cop to do it. But if people are going to be walking under a crane (without a protected scaffolding with a planked/protected barrier), I think OSHA rules would require someone or somthing to be there.

    And if you are putting people into the street and there is danger of traffic, there should be someone there with reflective gear to slow them down or stop them if the people have to cross. (Again, depending on the foot/street traffic)

    But in terms of the political issue Menino doesnt care. It just means he has another cop on the street paid for by Stevil instead of his budget!

    Feet on the street - lots of 'em!

    By on

    I'll let the safety experts decide if you need an extra head - but I agree - certainly don't need a cop at $35 an hour plus admin fees.

    One day walked out the back door - and counted 7-8 cops in a two block area on Dartmouth between Comm and Boylston (4-5 on detail and 3 cadets doing holiday patrol on Newbury Street). There were at least 2 more on detail at the Arlington Street T when I got there - seems like there must be a better way to manage this. Newbury and Boylston are dug up all the time - they should have a police force just for those two streets :-). You'd have to be an idiot to try something around there - but of course there are a lot of idiots around.

    if we have fewer police details...

    By on

    ...that means far, far fewer cops. Which means we don't need ANY cadets.

    Anyone who thinks that the current system is necessary should drive around JP and check out the work Nstar has been doing. It's all on side streets, and yet there's usually at least one cop standing around. On a street that has been BLOCKED COMPLETELY.

    Oh yeah, and there's been some construction work in Brigham Circle. 4 cops. And what are they doing, every time my bus drives by? Why, yukking it up with each other, ignoring the pedestrians and traffic.

    Detail cops are making his argument for him

    By on

    IMAGE(http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/21214876.png?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1249315415&Signature=kEWTi2%2BnKI2wrabc7sDrT6%2BdQRI%3D)

    http://twitpic.com/cmpi4

    I realize it's not the greatest picture in the world, but I had to wait 2 light cycles at this traffic light in the exact same spot before finally getting up to the intersection because traffic normally goes 4-wide to allow two left turn lanes off of Washington St onto Commonwealth Ave while through traffic continues onwards. With construction taking up 1-2 lanes of that 4-lane space in the middle of the intersection and narrowing Comm Ave down to 1 lane outbound too, cars were just moving into the intersection, putting on the turn signal...and running into the entire opposite direction stacking up doing the same thing. THEN, when the light changed, Comm Ave drivers with a protected left onto Washington were either stuck waiting for the intersection to clear or weaving through cars who were ALREADY weaving to get out of the now jammed intersection.

    And ALL of this was going on as a detail cop was yakking on his cell phone....10 feet away with his BACK to all of it most of the time! Important message from the Chief? Batman on line 1? No, as I got up to his position on my scooter, I could here him talking about personal business. Glad I could help pay for him to stand around talking on his phone. I'm sure it'll be a big help for him to be immediately on the scene when someone finally hits someone else there.

    Similar

    By on

    They've been repaving the intersection of Boylston and Arlington - went by there during the paving one day and saw 3 policemen controlling one intersection (and it took me about 10-15 minutes to go from Berkeley Street to Boylston). In my experience you typically need just 1 cop to control an intersection - especially one that already has a traffic light. complete waste of at least 2 of those salaries - was in NY last week and they had a project going on in a local town where a main two way road was reduced to a single lane at a very hazardous intersection due to a blind spot at the top of the hill - they had a flagman on both sides of the construction stopping traffic and letting it flow one way and then reversing the flow - not rocket science and they did a fine job. Was at a another MAJOR highway project where a two lane state highway narrowed to one lane and was narrowly lined with jersey barriers. The only cop I saw was waiting in the line of traffic with us so a truck could clear. Bottom line - this is a tremendous waste of resources and does little or nothing for public safety.

    it helps a little

    when cities offer police unions a raise in their detail rate instead of a yearly raise in their base salary. So then the city of Boston doesn't have to pay their cops like other cities do.

    Twitpic

    Kaz, hope you don't mind, I enlightened your pic to see the subject better. Yep, there he is.

    I was honestly amazed a few weeks ago to see a detail cop assigned to an Edison job take the initiative to prevent pre-game gridlock at the intersection of Boylston and Ipswich/Hemenway in the East Fens. I mean, I'm not even sure that was part of his job guarding the manhole, but I can't tell you how much I and others appreciated it. If they want to convince me that details are worthwhile, they should be doing what this guy did. Usually they're not even paying attention.