In a letter to the Boston Police Department and Mayor Michelle Wu, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) said the BPD can barely cover regular shift work–nevermind police details for construction projects and special events in the area.
The union said understaffing could have dire consequences as patrolmen are being forced to work mandatory overtime.
“The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association condemns the Boston Police Department for ordering officers to work 24 hours in a row this past Saturday,” said the union in the letter. “It is unsafe for officers to be forced to work for 24 hours straight, and demonstrates the gross understaffing in the Police Department.”
In the letter the BPPA called upon the City to immediately take actions to increase the number of sworn members of the BPD to levels that will allow for safe staffing.
“On Saturday, due partially to the City’s “block party in Jamaica Plain, coupled with the Red Sox game and a festival in the Seaport, the BPD had over 120 officers working on an overtime basis,” said the letter. “The vast majority of the officers working overtime were ordered to do so (meaning it was involuntary), and the majority were ordered for at least 16 hours, which is physically and psychologically draining. However, a number of officers were actually ordered to work three shifts in a row-or 24 hours straight.”
The BPPA reported at least five officers were also ordered to work 24 hours back on Saturday June 25.
“This is simply unsafe and cannot be allowed to occur,” the letter continued. “Officers simply cannot work for that many hours and still be expected to make split second decisions in life threatening situations. While many have called for a reduction in the BPD’s Overtime budget, this crisis demonstrates why the City spends so much on overtime-there simply aren’t enough officers working for the BPD.”
The BPPA said given the crisis staffing levels at the BPD, it is irresponsible of the City to permit multiple events on the same day, which leads to resources being spread thin and unsafe mandatory ordering
BPPA President Lawrence Calderone urged the hiring of more officers. “The BPPA has been calling on the City to hire more cops for years. The chronic understaffing of the BPD is now resulting in the unsafe situation of officers being ordered to work 24 hours straight. This is utterly unacceptable; the City is gambling with the safety of our community and our members by these reckless staffing decisions. We demand that the department cease unsafe staffing and hire more officers!”