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As mostly white police union battles teachers over Black Lives Matter curriculum, city council to look at how to increase number of minority officers

The president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association is accusing the Boston Teachers Union of helping to demonize cops and even endanger their lives by supporting a Black Lives Matters program that calls for hiring more black teachers and school counselors instead of school cops.

But not all Boston cops agree with BPPA President Michael Leary's missive to BTU President Jessica Tang.

In a joint statement, the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, which represents black BPD officers, and the Boston branch of the NAACP stood with the teachers:

Police officers are not a monolithic group. There are many police officers who understand the ideals and values behind BLM and align themselves with BLM and other social justice organizations. We do not believe BLM is synonymous with “anti-police”. In fact, we believe that BLM is a reflection of the historical mistreatment of Black and brown people in this country, not only by law enforcement but also by a culture that has quietly undermined the value of the lives of Black and brown people.

We support the Boston Teachers Union and thank them for participating in the national Black Lives Matter in Schools week.

The Black Lives Matter at School program has four points:

  • End “zero tolerance discipline”, and implement restorative justice in schools
  • Hire more Black teachers in schools
  • Mandate Black history and ethnic studies in K-12 curriculum
  • Fund counselors not cops

In their statement, the NAACP and MAMLEO acknowledged that some MAMLEO members have a problem with the last point, but that "we refuse to focus solely on that point when the other three are so critically important to the success of all students in school, especially Black students."

Separately, the Boston City Council agreed yesterday to take another look at why Boston's public-safety departments are all overwhelmingly white in a city in which whites no longer make up the majority of residents.

Councilor Andrea Campbell called for a hearing to consider what can be done to increase the ranks of minority and women officers and commanders in BPD, BFD and Boston EMS - including possibly looking at taking Boston out of the state civil-service system.

At a council meeting yesterday, Campbell said that 67% of BPD officers were white in 2018 - the most recent year for which she could get records - 72% of city firefighters were white and 68% of EMS EMTs and paramedics were white. The ranks of commanders, she continued, are even whiter, she said. Boston as a whole is currently about 44% white, she said.

Campbell said she'd start by insisting such figures be made publicly available; she says she was shocked to find they were not and that she had to "track down various folks" across city government to compile the statistics.

She said she wants to look at getting the city to stop "appealing every law suit that literally makes it harder to hire women and people of color," such as suits over cocaine tests based on hair samples and making the departments more welcoming to women and people of color.

But, she continued, city officials need to deal with "the elephant in the room," which she said is the use of civil-service exams that give absolute priority to veterans, which can hurt the chances of women and people of color who did not serve in the military. She said one possibility would be to withdraw from the current civil-service system and create a new hiring process that would give additional points to veterans, similar to what she said State Police do.

Campbell's request for a hearing (5.5M PDF).

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Comments

The Boston White Policeman's No-Show Overtime Association Union, or whatever, should keep it's damn mouth shut about education policy.

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No, it's important for them to weigh in! If we educate our population, where will we get police officers from? (I'm kidding, but still, zing!)

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Weird that literally asserting that black lives matter is somehow "anti-police." If that's the case what would "pro-police" look like?

It seems to me like there's some shortcomings in how we currently define the job of policing.

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The union apparently doesn't see that their position is effectively endorsing bigoted harassment and shooting of black people -- a thing that its members do less of than just about any big-city department in the country. No, I'm not saying harassment doesn't happen here, but it winds up with a shooting infrequently.

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Boston police seems to be comparatively good on these issues. The union, however...https://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2012/07/06/cops-bigoted-newsletter

Not so much.

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Yall ever notice Police Unions wont just say "Black Lives Matter"?

Should be a no brainer, right? no skin off their back.

But they just won't say it.

Instead they make it "Blue Lives Matter" which in on efeel swoop does this :

  • Diminishes the lives of black people lost to police brutality
  • Equates existing black lives with their 100% voluntary choice of occupation
  • creates an oppositional/contentious social dynamic with the people whom they are entrusted with serving and protecting, in this case Boston teachers and Students.
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That you can tell how racist a country or institution is by the reaction of its members to anti-racism work. If criticizing racism in America means you "hate America" it's because America has been so tightly and inextricably woven with racist policies.

Glad to see MAMLEO respond with some sense to this ridiculousness.

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But, she continued, city officials need to deal with "the elephant in the room," which she said is the use of civil-service exams that give absolute priority to veterans, which can hurt the chances of women and people of color who did not serve in the military. She said one possibility would be to withdraw from the current civil-service system and create a new hiring process that would give additional points to veterans, similar to what she said State Police do.

---
The real elephant in the room isn't even mentioned. The idea of a young, inner-city African American male becoming a police officer is considered by some in that community to be traitorous, akin to selling out, on par with the tired "Uncle Tom" invective aimed at pro-law enforcement blacks like Justice Clarence Thomas or Sheriff David Clarke. It's hard enough to be a police officer of any race these days but add in the intraracial hate from some in your own demographic (or kitchen table) and who would bother?

Reforming absolute preference for every veteran is an idea worth exploring but it has little to do with race. I believe most people agree that persons of all races who serve in the military deserve at least the two points offered by the State Police but maybe not the absolute preference of the local and Transit police where a 71% police exam score of a veteran goes ahead of a 100% for a non-veteran. That's ludicrous for many reasons. The veteran's preference is actually a great opportunity for the high number of blacks who serve in the military but may not have had access to the exam schools that produce highest test scores. The fairness goal of the Civil Service system has been further compromised by the special legislation creating the Boston Police Cadet program that affords a pathway to politically connected young people (and a smattering of blacks) to become police officers despite lackluster exam scores. One quick boost would be to work with the city's Veteran Services department to identify returning black veterans and walk them through the process of signing up for a six-figure job that is virtually guaranteed to them.

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is considered by some in that community to be traitorous

Do you want to post or cite any proof of that? Or do you just believe it to be true?

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Really fun and helpful that you picked two bigoted, jingoist, misogynists as your examples, and not, for contrast, the first black AGUSA. It let me ignore all the rest of the words really quickly.

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n//t

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If that's what you think proof looks like, then it makes sense that you're not a cop anymore.

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There multiple problems here, we fighting century old problems especially in this country. I think if we focused on getting all parties at the table talking about the community. We as people most be put bigotry, hate and push individual agenda over community needs.

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How do you know that the perception of "selling out" is, in fact, a serious consideration?

The city should withdraw from the civil service system. "Absolute preference" makes no sense.

I agree with your ideas about recruiting returning veterans. And how about making a real effort to enroll Bostonians from all backgrounds in the cadet program? Make sure that every graduating high school senior knows about it, and every Boston student now attending a local school. Maybe team up with the ones that offer law enforcement majors.

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Leaving Civil Service in order to hire more black officers? The military is one of the most diverse organizations out there. It’s not an issue of hiring veterans, it’s an issue of local black veterans not even wanting to become Police Officers.

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You still need residency and veterans preference to get to the top of the list. The military may be diverse, but I believe (I could be wrong) that the majority of veterans in the Boston area (and those who move into Boston simply to join the BFD or BPD) are majority white.

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The percent of white veterans in their 20s and 30s getting out of the US Military in Massachusetts is something like 84%.

That percentage looks nothing like the percentage of white residents in Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, etc.

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First of all waive the fee for taking the civil service police test. This only discourages minorities and non vets from taking civil service tests. Second disabled vets and vets should get preference but disabled vets suffering from PTSD and anger issues are questionable.
As far as school police who do a great job go ahead and remove them from the schools next remove the Transit Police from the subways and see all hell break loose.

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I often hear the veteran preference mentioned as a reason BPD is under represented by minorities. However the military is generally known as being at least reasonably equal opportunity, and also a pathway for young adults to getting a college degree, and elevating lower income people into middle class.

So given that, why aren't more young minority folks enlisting, then applying for BPD, at least proportionately to white officers?

I have no doubt the city could use more minority officers. But I don't really understand this part of the argument. Can anyone please explain?

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And you don't have to be from Boston to get residency preference, you simply have to live in Boston for one year previous until the day of the actual test. So you can throw Boston demographics right out the window because people move into Boston just to get a civil service job.

And as I said above, the military may be diverse, but I'm not so sure veterans in New England are diverse. I don't have any numbers to back that up but I feel like that may be the case.

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I'm torn about whether this letter should even be reported on. I mean, I get it and I know why media outlets have picked up on this. But it's just a letter. The police union doesn't like BLM at Schools week and so they wrote a letter to the president of the BTU about how they don't like it. The BTU will mostly ignore this letter and continue to support BLM at Schools Week (as they should) and it's all kind of a non-event.

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You don't think it's important that the public know that the union representing the city's police force is anti-BLM? Seems pretty important to me.

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But I thought they already did. Name a police union in America that isn't anti-BLM. We already knew how they felt. There's nothing new here.

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I would say many people are blissfully unaware of the racist views of police unions

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Boston Police Patrolmen's Association

isn't this the police org that got caught sending out hella racist newsletters or something?

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WHAT IF BML and BPD joined forces and supported one another instead of pitting themselves against one another? WHAT IF BLM, BPD and BPS all sat at the same table, acted like adults and all agreed that we’re all fighting for the same thing here- to create awareness and make positive change? As a person who has a close family member in the BPD and a mother of school aged children, I see both sides. I support BML and their original sentiment and agree education of black history and ethnic studies should be supported by our communities and has a place in our schools. However, I am struggling to support the execution of this particular phrase "fund counselors not cops". It feels contradictory to specifically call to deny a group (cops) anything. What does this teach our children? We can still educate them without this catfight. Again, I support both sides and think if there was a way both groups could stop with the pointing fingers, then what an amazing force to be reckon with. Imagine the positive messages they could be sending all our youth. Believe in what's right, do what's right, stand up for what's right and do it with dignity. Isn't that what both BLM and the BPD are saying?

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Fund counselors not cops doesn't deny anyone, cops are still employed as cops. Having armed guards/officers just adds to the feeling that inner city schools are just pipelines into the prison industrial complex. Less guns in school, less chances of any situation being escalated into an arrest or bodyslam by authority, teenage aggression doesn't always require security.

BLM started as a responses to police killing unarmed Black people, the police responded with Blue Lives Matter and We Can Breathe slogans. It's nearly impossible to sit at a table with an entity who doesn't agree to stop shooting first.

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Sooo, no? We're just going to keep pitting these two powerful resources against one another and now we're going to drag the BTU in the middle? Cool cool cool. Glad to see we're all mature and able to put our big kid pants on and talk like mature adults and set an example for our youth.

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Death by Cop is no longer a sure thing for Black men in Boston. They're adding younger white guys. No Military experience.
where would they learn to kill.?

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statistically, barring complications from untreated PTSD, military guys are less trigger happy than high school bullies graduating right into cops. military has standards for armed engagement and deescalation SOPs

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police killings by education, veterans status, and/or bullying?

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Do you have any stats on the number of black veterans in the New England area? I feel like you should if you’re going to call someone else out for the same thing you’ve just done. I feel like there are a lot of black veterans in the area. I also feel there are a lot of white veterans in the area. Perruptor is a veteran and she is probably white.

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The councilors assertion that the use of absolute veterans preference is harmful to women and minorities who did not serve in the military is true. But, it is also true that the preference has the same effect on all who did not serve in the military.
It is also true that the advantage of serving accrues to all who served. According to the Congressional Research Service the racial and ethnic makeup of the armed services closely mirrors the population as a whole. The largest difference is 69.1% of active duty military is white while 76.2 % of the total population is white. The is from a report titled:

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity
in the Armed Services: Background and Issues
for Congress
Updated June 5, 2019
Absolute preference may be an outdated concept but to suggest that it is harmful to a specific group is not accurate. Also, the council should look at how many of the candidates that take and pass the test and the background check are not offered a position. If that number is low than perhaps the problem is not the test but that many people do not want the job

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Absolute preference may be an outdated concept but to suggest that it is harmful to a specific group is not accurate.

You're using national military diversity statistics to make a conclusion about the local impact of the veterans preference, which isn't valid. You'd need to look at the diversity of veterans living in Boston, which is the only group of veterans eligible for BPD via the civil service exam.

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It also comes down to numbers. Ideally, you'd want the racial makeup of a police force to reflect its citizenry. But. historically, BPD hasn't had enough black applicants. In past attempts to remedy that, BPD has done active recruiting at various neighborhood locations (e.g., South Bay) to increase awareness of an upcoming civil service exam and encourage people to apply. Not sure if they still do that (I'm ageing myself, as I know this occurred in 2007-2009 range). That recruiting didn't change much in the subsequent academy classes. You can blame whatever you want - the exam itself, application process, etc., but if not enough black applicants apply, the racial makeup of the force isn't going to change.

Recently, graduating classes have reportedly been more diverse, like last June's class that was called the most diverse. (Although this article doesn't say how many of the 115 graduates were people of color: ). Still, it's going to take time to change the demographics of the whole force.

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https://medium.com/@thedididelgado/an-open-letter-to-the-food-service-wo...

EDIT: And as usual, the racist UHub commenters assume that a Black person making such comments must literally want people to commit felonies against police. No, she's a writer, and she's using literary devices to make the point that cops seem to think they're the only ones who can mess with people and get away with it, and seem to forget that they walk through life so easily identifiable as part of a group that sent racist letters.

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That’s fucking horrible.

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You’re ok with people spitting in food as an act of protest?

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I'm pretty sure I had that done to me after I insisted that my child and I be seated at a table that had been cleaned off, not the one covered with the previous customers' detritus. The woman who took us to that was mad about it, and I got a bad stomach bug the next day.

Paying sub-minimum wage to restaurant workers, and not giving them sick time, forces them to go to work even when they're sick. That really helps spread disease, even when an under-the-weather worker doesn't take offense at a customer and spit in their food. It's a public health problem. FWIW, I did tip after the meal, as I always do.

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A hostess(woman who took you to the table, but didn’t serve you) who was forced to come to work despite having a stomach bug, went into the kitchen to spit in your food to get you sick bc you asked for a clean table?

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I don't care whether you believe it or not. You're not a judge in my life.

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I just hope you don’t actually believe it.

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you reconsider your agency to insert yourself into events you did not witness, and to dismiss the account of someone who did witness them. In other words, you weren't there. I was. You can have your opinions, but in this case, you're wrong. Go away.

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You’re using a made up story to justify a suggestion of spitting in the food of law enforcement officers. The story is illogical.

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I most certainly did not say anything to justify spitting in cops' food. Just the opposite, in fact. And for calling me a liar, you can go fuck yourself.

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So you saw this woman spit into your food and you still ate it?

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Encouraging people to commit a felony, what a great idea.

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What did you mean by “Didi Delgado has the right idea” what “idea” of hers were you referring to?
She’s a writer and an activist with a huge following. Is she going to raise money for bail if people decide to act on her “literary devices”?
Do you think all BPPA members support the letter that was written?

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I haven’t seen any statement from them stating that such racist views are against their policies and will be addressed.

My employers, professional associations, etc. would immediately terminate me for writing such a letter. Hell, my house of worship and my hobby organizations would also take action to have me removed on account of creating an atmosphere in which people of color are not safe. The MFA banned people from their premises for less, as they should have.

Oh, and my activities don’t involve me being armed. The BPPA is fine with blatant racists running around with guns. So yes, they support this bullshit.

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Do your employers know about that? I wouldn't want you around kids if that is the case.

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She isn't specifically saying people should spit in food, nor am I, as I've already made clear. She's a writer and she's using poetry to point out that the cops aren't as invincible as they think they are and point out that the commonfolk see cops as all alike when their union hasn't done anything about their people writing blatantly racist letters, and that maybe police in a majority-POC city should think twice about their blatant racism when it's mostly POC who serve their food, educate their kids, provide their healthcare, etc. She isn't saying that POC and allies should specifically commit harm to police, but just is reminding them that maybe they shouldn't make statements that devalue the lives of the fabric of this community.

It's hyperbole just like when white artists do it. Aerosmith doesn't actually eat rich people and Johnny Cash didn't kill a man just to watch him die.

(Oh and FYI, I originally saw Didi's post when it was shared by one of my employers. Most people in my field don't appreciate racism either.)

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And it isn’t hyperbole. She wants people to spit in cops food. You know it and I know it. Of course she doesn’t say it specifically, she isn’t that dumb, but neither is anyone else who can read inbetween the lines in that piece.

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For the life of me, I just don’t get the argument against veterans preference. It works for everyone. It’s not a secret society with a special handshake. If you want to be a cop or a firefighter in Boston, join the service. It’s that simple. You can stay home and wait around taking the test every other year for ten years and never get on, or do 4 years in the navy and probably have a job waiting for you.

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You did 20 years ago but if you can score a 97+ on the test (basically a 7th grade reading comprehension test) you can be a cop.

The fire department from what I understand still has too many non vet white and black applicants so it is impossible to get on without being a vet.

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Easy to say but not everyone wants to be in the service or is able to. People have family obligations, children, et al. Those do not prevent one from being a police officer that can go home off-shift and be around for things. They do prevent someone from being in the military for years.

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why should someone who wants to run into burning buildings to save lives have to sign up to shoot at people for a few years for the privilege?

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Serving in the military is a sacrifice, and veteran preference is a way of rewarding that. If you don't believe it's a sacrifice, talk to some veterans.

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Interesting. Sacrifice much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Don't mistake service for sacrifice.

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I am. A chunk of my life I won't get back, in service of a truly stupid cause.

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