City Councilor Kendra Lara (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Mission Hill) today proposed creation of a city office to hire hundreds of Boston residents to provide traffic flagging at the growing number of construction projects she says Boston Police simply can't cover.
The city currently requires construction projects with road impacts to request detail officers from BPD, but Lara said the percentage of projects for which companies sought police details that go without supervision has increased from 32% in 2017 to 43% in 2020 - when a similar civilian flagging proposal went nowhere.
She said construction projects in Boston could support 740 full-time positions paying, as required by state law, prevailing wages, which she said would particularly benefit the Black community, which was particularly hard hit by job losses during Covid-19 and which has borne the brunt of "state violence, overpolicing and mass incarceration."
She added her office has already started talking to local unions about representing any potential Boston civilian flaggers.
City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said the issue is not an attempt to save money - the state law requiring workers get union wages makes that a non-issue - but safety is.
"Having nearly 50% of them unfilled is a safety failure," Arroyo said.
The proposal now goes to a committee chaired by Councilor Kenzie Bok (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill) for study before the council votes on it.