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Boston City Council to look at letting police officers stay on the job past 65

A City Council committee will consider whether it makes sense to let Boston Police officers continue working past the current retirement age of 65 if they're willing - and able to continue passing physicals.

Councilors Michael Flaherty (at large) and Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, downtown) say that it's a shame to lose the experience and relationships of officers when they reach 65.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (Charlestown, East Boston, North End) said it's a good idea to consider the issue, but said she also wants to look at overall BPD manpower issues. She said that four detail positions to help keep traffic moving in Sullivan Square are going unfilled and that the city's now asking Transit Police to see if any of its officers might want the overtime positions.

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Must be able to see what they pee out of without using a mirror. Magoo.

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Voting closed 10

Who is this for? The council didn't come up with this on their own all of a sudden. I think 65 is a reasonable mandatory retirement age. Individual local officers have tried the Home Rule petition process to waive the 65 year-old rule for them one at a time but are rarely if ever successful. The daily rigors and dangers of full-time police work make it a young person's game. Many departments now allow retirees to utilize their training and experience by working a limited number of details that might otherwise go unfilled but not daily full-time patrol work. That might resolve Councilor Edwards concerns.

The mandatory retirement age allows for new hires and experienced, deserving officers to climb the ranks. They know that "X number of ranking officers will be turning 65 in the next few years" and will have to retire. This encourages professional development and command of the promotional material that is studied on the officer's own time. Allowing officers to hang on indefinitely will stymie that. Keep in mind that officers can retire with a full pension at 55 with 32 years service, so those who hang around until death are basically clinging to it, ala Ted Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As for "keep taking physicals" I don't think they currently do, once hired. Conversely, the State Police which once had a mandatory retirement age of 50 now has none at all, with several Troopers well into their 70's. MSP does take some type of annual physical and agility test.

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Voting closed 29

Other than that your post was sound logic. But seriously...can't those of us who don't politicize everything all the time be spared once in a while?

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That was always one of the issues. Do the retired officers have radios and do they need firearms? As you know detail officers are involved in pretty much dozens of police calls a day just because they have a radio and are often the first officer to respond to a call.

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You know because for whatever reason, BPD doesn't have a dedicated traffic enforcement division.

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Voting closed 28

That's such a privileged, hand waving thing to say. And it's about right for someone who has probably taken the sake route all their life and depended on others to protect them.

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more like, lock you up for nonsense you didn't do, or come 3 hours later to write a report that goes nowhere when something happens to you.

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Who is paying for the overtime?

Police agencies in the rest of the country do not divide their jobs into "regular" and "overtime." Officers may work overtime, but there aren't "overtime only" positions.

Also, the rest of the country somehow survives without police details at construction and utility work sites.

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It's always a shocker when you leave Massachusetts, drive by a construction site, and it just doesn't feel right because the police are missing.

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You mean it feels normal. Like being able to buy beer at gas stations, etc.

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I usually think its crazy to have cops directing traffic, but Sullivan is a bit extra. Even in Seattle or Portland, they would pay cops to handle that sort of clustercuck.

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Do the cops actually direct traffic? Effectively?

I'll never forget the cop who held up her hand to wave hello to a friend in the car behind me, which looked just like the gesture to stop. So I slammed on the brakes. It's like the scene in Airplane where the guy gestures to his friend and the plane crashes into the terminal.

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Details are a complete racket.

People wonder why construction is so expensive around here, well the rate in Boston is $46-69 per hour. On a recent construction project I worked on the budget line item for police details was $275,000 for a 2.5 yr project. And this was a project largely free of any traffic disruption.

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If you got rid of details, construction labor unions would still have the company pay union wages for road work. A lot more expensive than the flagger in upstate NY or Vermont.

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Why have any flagger at all for most minor projects?

Other union-heavy states don't have anyone directing traffic when there's a manhole open.

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They'd be putting a laborer on who is typically paid a much lower rate than a detail officer.

You're right, it's still more than a flagger in VT or upstate, but anyone in those areas is (usually) paid less due to the lower cost of living. We have to compare the positions here: MA detail officer vs MA laborer.

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Because that's the racket keeping detail costs so high right now.

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When the union and city sit down to negotiate a new contract, the City will offer to raise the detail rate instead of the base salary. Because the City makes money off details, saves money from no salary increases, and knows union membership will be divided on the issue.

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Ok, but the point is, there's no need for a detail in most cases. The rest of the country gets along fine without them, Boston can too.

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I don't really know the right choice between police details and flaggers. But I do know that we need one or the other on busy streets where a lane is closed or there is some other need to actively direct traffic.

On the other hand, we have details guarding work being done on quiet city streets. Those don't need flag-man. Drivers just move around the work.

And there are squadrons of Staties and Sherrifs sitting in cars with flashing blue lights on the Interstates every night. Replace those with a couple of 5 ton dump trucks with a few extra flashing yellow lights and everyone will be perfectly safe. Probably safer because police officers would be getting a good night's sleep.

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Although I've actually worked in other states, and have spoken with many officers across the country. Highway details like you see here in MA are standard pretty much everywhere in the country on interstates especially.

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Was that a line item as an allowance? If there was no detail needed, that money went back to the owner/developer, correct?

Also - was that just for police details or did that include fire watch, too?

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Police details are required by law on most sites in Boston so unfortunately it wasn't just an allowance. And I know there are certain situations that you can technically use a flagger, but in 10+ years I've never seen that happen.

That was just for police details. If you do the math it makes sense given the hourly rate, job site hours, and the duration of the project.

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Can't fill their own overtime. How about civilian flag men? The T uses civilian flag men on the right of way and on their property why can't the city.

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FLAGGERS

They are called FLAGGERS

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...describes an encounter between a unit of mounted Cossacks and a young woman in Red Army uniform directing traffic in occupied Berlin at the end of the war:

"He led the horses at a walk;
A girl with a flag, standing on the corner
With her pony tail tucked beneath her cap
Saw him, standing straight as a vine,
Her turquoise eyes burning;
She shouted at the Cossack: Don't hold up traffic!"

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If this wasn't a real consideration, this would be hilarious.

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Why are four detail positions needed to keep traffic moving at Sullivan Square? That's a job for machines. If the machines aren't doing a good enough job, upgrade to better machines.

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I mean, yes, the lights need to be retimed. But you know as well as I do that people here will run lights and block the box as much as they feel like it, because there isn't traffic enforcement. It would no doubt be cheaper though to fix the lights, then maybe 1-2 times a week have officers issuing tickets for infractions. If traffic laws were actually enforced, people would follow more of them.

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When Leverett Circle was still a circle and had fewer lights the State Police would station a newbie (a guess due to the very young face on the trooper) to cite driver idiocy in and around that area. Perhaps the BPD should do the same at Sullivan?

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How about no pension for any officers until they turn 65. Retiring at 50 or whatever with a huge pension and benefits is basically robbing tax payers.

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Voting closed 10

If you retire at 50, you don't get the full pension. You actually save everyone money.

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People with physical jobs wear out physically.

Lots of reasons people retire sooner - one of them is their health.

My grandfather had a year of retirement. My dad had three. My Father in Law? he only "retired" at 62 because he was dying of lung cancer.

Kiss your desk when you get back into work - chances are, you will live longer if you haven't been toiling since your younger years.

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Voting closed 9

You know people pay into the pension program, right? It's not just a gimme after retirement? And that how much they get is dependent upon how long they've worked and what their pay was. Their pension payment is taken out of their check in addition to the standard health benefit money and whatever version of a 401k plan they may be participating in. And I don't believe they have Social Security taken out because they work for the government.

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When just about every Boston cop had grey hair.

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This is an echo from the Police Strike of 1919 and the retirement extensions given during WW2. Pensions max out at 32 years of service. 90% of the Department was fired in 1919 and the new hires reached max retirement in 1951. Additionally many officers 65+ were given temporary waivers to keep working during WW2. Both groups retired in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. This led to a large hiring wave during the 1980’s. Those officers are now reaching retirement age resulting in the need for a new hiring wave that is straining the training and recruitment resources. Allowing older officers who can pass a physical to stay longer could help smooth out the vicious cycle for the future.

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