Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty filed a home rule petition that would allow retired Boston Police Officers to perform paid detail work as requested by private contractors throughout the city.
The home rule petition comes as a response to the overwhelming increase in detail requests from private companies coupled with the decrease, since 1954, in officers available to fill these requests. The City of Boston receives a 10 percent administrative fee from each private company hiring Boston Police Officers for detail work, which amounts to about $3,000,000 in revenue. With the creation of the Special Police Force, the city has an opportunity to bring in a substantial amount of additional revenue.
Councilor Flaherty argues that recently retired Boston Police Officers have years of superior training, familiarity with city streets, and decades of invaluable experience that make them ideal candidates to fill detail assignments and increase police presence throughout the city.
“This home rule petition gives Boston the opportunity to create a much-needed special police force with no cost to taxpayers,” said Councilor Flaherty. “It’s a great way for our experienced police officers to continue their service to the city. It may also create an incentive for officers to retire earlier, allowing the BPD to recruit larger and more diverse classes of new officers.”
Boston police unions have expressed their support for the petition. “The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association supports this legislation which allows our fully-trained, experienced officers to continue being an asset to the City of Boston. Boston police officers are forced to retire by age 65, but many are capable and eager to continue serving,” said Thomas Nee, President of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.
“It is a public safety issue when detail requests go unfilled,” said Jack Kervin, President of the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation (BPSOF). “The presence of Special Police Officers will offer added protection to the city’s residents, businesses and visitors.”
The home rule petition would allow retired police officers to perform details until age 68 subject to passing physical exams and other requirements outlined by the Boston Police Commissioner. The Commissioner would have the sole authority to approve each individual Special Police Officer.
Over 175 police departments throughout Massachusetts have already passed rules or laws allowing recently retired police officers to fill detail requests. Councilor Flaherty will introduce this home rule petition to the Boston City Council on July 30th. If approved by the City Council – and then signed by the Mayor – the home rule petition will be sent to the state legislature for approval.
- Since 1954, the number of sworn officers in the Boston Police Department has decreased by about 25%, with a loss of more than 820 uniformed patrol officers.
- (Source: Annual Report of the Police Commissioner for the City of Boston, 1954)
- Boston Police Officers perform paid detail duty assignments on personal time, when they are not scheduled for their regular tours of duty.
- Boston Police Officers on detail assignments are paid by private contractors such as NSTAR, National Grid, Fenway Park, and TD Garden to provide law enforcement and protect the safety of the public.
- Over the years, the number of requests for detail officers from private vendors, construction companies, utility companies, and entertainment venues has increased drastically.
- This surplus of requests had resulted in details going unfilled by Boston Police Officers.
- The City of Boston receives a 10 percent administrative fee on all details performed by Boston Police Officers.
- The paid detail system has been valued at $30,000,000, which, if filled by Boston Police Officers, could result in $3,000,000 of revenue for the City of Boston.
- Retired Boston Police Officers have years of superior training, knowledge of the law, familiarity with city streets, and decades of invaluable experience that make them ideal candidates to fill detail assignments and increase police presence throughout the city.
- Over 175 police departments throughout Massachusetts have passed laws and/or rules to allow recently retired police officers to perform paid details in response to the increase in detail requests.
- All retired Boston Police Officers who seek to become special officers and fill detail requests will be considered only if they have retired in good standing, can pass a physical exam, have written medical clearance, do not receive disability retirement or collect unemployment, and meet all other requirements set in place by the Boston Police Commissioner.
- The Boston Police Commissioner has the sole authority to approve each individual Special Police Officer.
- After approval, each new Special Police Officer will have to attend and pass CPR training, first responder training, firearm training and bi-annual firearm qualifications, along with any other training as determined by the Police Commissioner.
- Each new Special Police Officer will be responsible for purchasing their own uniforms, firearms, non-issued equipment, medical testing, medical and liability insurance policies, and to perform all required training on their own time and at no cost to the City of Boston.
- With the current retirement age of BPD officers at 65, Special Police Officers can perform details until their 68th birthday.