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Mayor's neighborhood on alert for somebody breaking into elderly residents' homes

District E-18 reports that over the past couple of weeks, several homes owned by elderly people in Dedham and Readville along River Street have been broken in at night - while the residents were at home.

Boston Police say both they and Dedham Police have stepped up patrols on either side of the town line in the normally quiet area - where Mayor Menino lives.

If you see anybody suspicious there, contact E-18 detectives at 617-343-5607 or the anonymous tip line at 800-494-8477.

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Comments

Some parts of JP were getting hit in the evenings, too.

Supposedly BPD found two guys, arrested them, the thefts stopped, and then they made bail...thefts started up again.

All they do is hit an area until BPD reacts and neighbors start ramping up neighborhood watches, and move on to a new area.

What do you expect when BPD won't do any serious detective work to solve "minor" property crimes and home invasions? Stony Brook has been a one-stop-shopping-and-mugging area for over a decade.

Areas taken over by gangs, people getting mugged for daring to use their phone in public, shootings+murders even in our parks, and now neighborhoods robbed. Even the couple of blocks right around Boston police headquarters isn't safe! How much more incompetent can our "first in the nation" police force get? Gotta protect those holes in the ground on dead-end streets, though...someone might steal them if there wasn't a cop standing there to guard it!

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BPD is paralyzed by patronage hires draining the payroll which otherwise could be going to more beat cops, detectives, and lab techs. What do you expect BPD to do when it doesn't have the resources it needs to do its job because of obligations to friends of politicians?

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Can you tell me how that happens in a civil service system?

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Civil Service exams virtually don't exist anymore and candidate lotteries are easily rigged to ensure the desired pool of candidates. People who should have been retired years ago are kept on, sometimes exclusively on lucrative overtime details or through highly paid "consultant" work doing things regular staff should be handling.

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Want to explain further on how the candidate lotteries are rigged?

And can you tell me what an overtime detail is? I'd love to work some of those.

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Lotteries are rigged when it isn't a lottery. Every job lottery with the city seems to get won more frequently by friends, family, and relatives of existing employees. Does that seem to be a statistical anomaly to you?

As far as overtime:
On top of their regular tour some officers are given the opportunity to take paid details in addition to their regular hours. These are typically paid for by whomever requested the detail, but seniority comes into play. So generally, unless the detail sucks, the senior officers pick up the extra cash. Why else do you think you see so many gold badges standing around holes these days?

What is sleazy is deliberate under staffing of some positions and tours so that officers are working 'extra' hours for the department to make up for a lack of manpower. The city is directly paying people for working extra hours, when it would actually be cheaper to hire someone else at full time to permanently fill the position. This has also lead to abusive hiring of outside consultants to catch up on work loads which have been artificially been inflated due to under staffing of regular personnel.

The globe had a series of reports on this before Ed Davis took over as commissioner. There were, and still are, people playing games with the department in order to make money while hurting the overall effectiveness of the force. If you don't believe me, and I don't feel like getting into a pissing contest, please just search the Globe archives.

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Don't always believe what people tell you. You are wrong about many of the things you are talking about.

There is no "lottery" to become a police officer. The state civil service program has a test and the BPD doesn't mess with it because they will get sued and will lose if they play games (that has happened). There aren't really any games you can play when it comes to civil service either, so please fill me in on how the lottery is rigged. I'm not interested in what people might tell you, so if you really don't know don't bother responding.

Police Supervisors are at the bottom of every detail list and the Union watches that list like a Hawk. When you see brass doing a detail, it means every patrolman passed it up. And higher brass aren't eligible for details or overtime anyway. I can show you any list you want to see. Just send me a message and I'll get it for you.

Staffing is up to the City, not some sleazy supervisor. If go below the minimum, they hire on OT. The BPD doesn't set their own budget.

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Pete

First for the record after almost 20 years as a Boston resident almost every direct experience I've had with BPD has been positive (about all 6 of them -usually involving problems in the alley behind our condo). I would agree that I wish they paid more attention to some of the smaller things so problems don't escalate -but so far nobody's died from any of this stuff that I know of.

The BPD spends about $30-40 million a year on OT on a VERY consistent basis going back to 2005 (a high of $46 million in FY 2007 and a low of $30 million in 2005). BFD is even more consistent spending $15-$18 million in OT annually.

With a system that predicable - why are we spending so much on OT - if you hired an additional 75 firefighters and 250 cops (along with contract reforms to allow for more scheduling flexibility) you could put more feet on the street without spending a dime in OT which would be great for the residents. I could see it if there were huge variances year to year but this is predictable almost to the penny.

Interested in your thoughts - sounds like you're a cop or know the system well. That's a lot of dough to be spending on time and a half for such an important job where extra heads could make a huge difference.

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Overtime is a unique issue with Civil Service institutions in my opinion. Although I would agree with you that the OT budget can be reduced in many areas, you really need to look at several factors when reading the bottom line (where the money comes from and where it is actually going). In general, the BPD would spend overtime in the following areas:

-Special Events like the marathon, parades, First Night, protests. Some of the OT money that is being spent on these events comes from different sources other than the City. The BAA will give the City some money for the marathon (usually not enough to cover everything), sports teams will pay good chunks of change for traffic issues outside of stadiums (they also pay a lot of taxes and bring in a lot of money). In general these special events are probably financially better for the city even after you looked at the OT numbers for the police, DPW, etc.

-General Line Staffing. This is definitely an area where you could save money by hiring extra patrol. Let’s say D-14 has 25 people assigned per shift and you need a minimum of 22 to work that shift. Now lets say two of those guys are on vacation, one is on a long term injury, and two more call in sick that day, it would mean you would have to hire 2 extra guys for the shift. These are two guys you wouldn't need to hire if you raised the staffing to 27 cops assigned to that shift. But then by contract you have to allow so many vacation days over the minimum, so if you now let 3-4 cops take a vacation day and the same two guys call in sick, you still have to hire. In this case you are paying for the extra cops and the OT. I think this is the kind of problem that the fire department faces more than the BPD. But sick time management is a big part of police departments, and improvements can surely be made all around in that department.

Grants- There are all sorts of grants that the BPD writes up that brings in extra cash right to the department. These grants are great for the city because it puts more cops on the streets for a variety of things (traffic safety, drunk driving cars, gang support, gun control, drug enforcement, housing grants, domestic violence grants, school policing, etc)

Extension of duties- This is a tricky one and is hard to explain. The one thing about Civil Service jobs is that there really is no motivation to work hard like there is in other jobs. You don't need a good work history to get promoted. All you have to do is take a test. Granted, you can't be a bad employee and get promoted (like by doing unethical things on the job or basic misconduct). You can't get fired for being a dud employee like you can in the private sector. Basically if you just do the very minimum, you can still make a lot of money with the BPD (by doing boring work that other officers might not want to do). So that being said, there are many other BPD jobs that you need someone in there that works hard. Pay grade in these jobs goes by rank, not by ability (except for some detectives), so in order get the most through job done, you need to give people incentives to work in those jobs. If you looked at a spreadsheet for the BPD overtime, you would have no idea which ones of these employees deserved the OT or not. Of course there are many cops who have friends as supervisors in various divisions that might give them OT in cases where the employee doesn't deserve it. Maybe this is what anon is talking about. Sure this happens, and this will happen in every city/political job, but it doesn't happen on a great scale like anon seems to think.

In the end the City could do better with the OT if you really wanted to crunch the numbers. It seems like Davis had cracked down on a lot of practices that probably shouldn't have been going on (special unit OT) but I don't think it is as bad as people think.

Bogus injuries and sick time are too things that hurt the City but are real hard to investigate and prove because you basically need a bunch of doctors to agree with one another. How do you prove someone didn't hurt is back taking something out of the trunk of a cruiser?

Hiring is another issue that has hurt the BPD and this is the thing that really surprises me. 30 years ago it was very hard to get a civil service job and the pay wasn't anywhere near what you can get paid more (although cost of living and housing was much cheaper). Today if the BPd wanted to hire 100 cops, the first 20 on the list would be outstanding candidates, but then 21-100 would have some sort of criminal record, poor work history, or some other issue that no one in their right mind would want to be a cop. But these are some of the people that the BPD has lowered their standards to take, and it is also part of the problem.

Well that was a long rant, good thing I can do this at my desk on some cushy OT. Merry Christmas!

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Thanks for the thoughtful response and for your service (are you still on the force - thought I read somewhere along the way that you used to be a cop but are doing something else now?)

Sounds like it might be partly doable - I think it would be great if we could get 20-30 extra cops on duty per shift for more flexible duty, but then patrolling the real problem areas like DTX and the "Triangle of Death" from Mass Ave to Blue Hill Ave where all the murders seem to happen when not serving in the other capacities you mention.

Merry Christmas to you too and to all the BPD and BFD - thanks for being there and be safe out there!

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