Massachusetts Cop Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Despite fiscal crisis, municipal police thrive on OT

By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff, and Bill Dedman, Globe Correspondent, 7/23/2003

Their own union chief says many of their duties overlap with Boston police, and critics have called for the force's elimination. But not only have the Boston Municipal Police survived; their officers are thriving on overtime pay, while the city grapples with its worst fiscal crisis in a decade.

Nearly all the 140 ''munis'' -- who are responsible for guarding city parks and buildings from City Hall to public housing developments -- received at least $20,000 more than their base pay last year, even as the city laid off workers and cut popular programs to close a budget shortfall. About a dozen munis earned double their regular salaries, which hover around $40,000. Most of the money is going to patrol officers and those who guard sites other than City Hall.

Paul Hamilton, who heads the Municipal Police Patrolmen's Association, said the munis earned their $2.6 million in extra pay, but he said the substantial sums the city is paying out suggest it might be time to reorganize the force, perhaps merging it into the Boston Police Department or Boston Housing Authority force.

''Right now, the utilization of police services is not what it should be,'' Hamilton said. ''There is a redundancy in the work being performed.''

Unlike Boston police officers, whose salaries are inflated with controversial supplements such as paid details and educational incentives, the extra pay of the municipal police is mostly overtime. The munis didn't make as much extra money as Boston police patrolmen, who netted an average of $36,752 in additional dollars. But they made more than Boston firefighters, who received an average of $11,981 above their base pay, a Globe analysis of salary data shows.

''It's really the general question throughout city departments where there is a lot of overtime: how well is it managed, and is it essential?'' said Samuel R. Tyler, who heads the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a business-funded group.

When it was established in 1979 to provide security at city buildings, the Municipal Police Department consisted of a handful of unarmed officers. But the force's responsibilities have expanded: Nabbing shoplifters at Fanueil Hall and arresting drug peddlers in city parks. They answer calls at public schools, libraries, and community centers, and since 1994 they have helped provide security at Boston Housing Authority developments. The force's 64 patrol officers carry guns, and they are trained at police academies.

The median pay for patrol and site officers is $38,238, and the median salary for superior officers is $45,379. Muni rank and filers took in an average of $20,000 above their base pay last year, while superior officers earned nearly $30,000 more on average, the Globe analysis shows.

Michael J. Galvin, who heads the city's Property Management department and oversees the munis, blames most of the overtime expenditures on the force's BHA duties, though beefed up security since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks also contributed, he said. Until May, 33 munis were assigned to patrol BHA developments, and Galvin says he has been forced to pay overtime to other officers during the first five months of the year to maintain security elsewhere. Galvin says he saved money by paying the overtime instead of hiring more officers. He said it didn't make sense to hire new people, because it always appeared likely that the munis would be relieved of their BHA duties. Last May, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association finally won its legal battle with the city over using the munis in public housing, and the municipal police officers are now being pulled out of the developments. About 20 currently patrol BHA housing, but they will be replaced with Boston police in the coming months.

''The overtime we've allowed, and not doing all that hiring -- I thought that was prudent'' Galvin said. Now that the munis are withdrawing from BHA sites, he said, overtime should plummet.

BHA officials give the munis high marks for their work in public housing: Crime is down about 16 percent in the developments in the nine years since they began patrolling the buildings, which are also protected by BHA police and Boston police.

Galvin says he needs all of the munis returning from BHA to protect the city's properties, which are worth a total of about $3 billion and include 600 alarmed buildings and 240 parks.

But he acknowledges that Boston police officers are also available to respond to incidents at those sites. Galvin has also expanded the force's role over the last few years by agreeing to provide daytime protection to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the Inspectional Services department, and Veterans' Affairs -- moves that have forced him to pay overtime to cover the munis' traditional responsibilities.

Shootings, accusations of patronage, and a lack of racial diversity prompted scrutiny of the munis in the mid-1990s.But Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who had questioned whether the force was even necessary, has not followed through on his 1996 pledge to downgrade the munis and remove the word ''police'' from their title.

In its official response to the report, the Boston police said the munis should be able to protect city property even without the 33 officers assigned to BHA developments, and suggested technology could be used to trim the size of the force.

Scott S. Greenberger can be reached at [email protected]

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 7/23/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
I don't get it... is the author trying to say the city wastes money on the munis, or that they are a valuable asset that deters crime? Or both? :-k

-Mike
 

·
Out of the Loop
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
Beats me... all I know is that I'm lucky if I get 8 hours overtime a week. Usually I'm bullshit about the articles they print in the Globe pertaining to us, but I don't really understand what point of view they're coming from here...

:?
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,151 Posts
It seems that this is just another anti-cop Boston Globe article :( What seems to be the problem ? After 9/11 everyone wanted extra security in all public areas did Massachusetts residents and elected officals just think police would do all the extra work for free ? How about all the federal money the state got for homeland security ? I bet federal money paid for alot of overtime and because some popular state run programs got cut elected officals will blame police overtime as the cause. Now God help us because the BMP made more OT money than the "lets all call in sick over July 4th weekend" Boston Firefighters.
 
G

·
OK I have a question, and I know this is off topic somewhat but here goes anyway. :?:

I was in the financial district having lunch with a friend of mine and I saw a women dressed in a brown uniform ( Not Boston EMS) her patch said (and I think I read it right) Boston Municipal Police or maybe it was Boston housing Authority? I'm not positive but we all know there patch is pretty much the same so it could of said either only I think the patch was Brown. Anyway I just looked quick as I was coming out of the ATM. I've never seen this uniform before, who did I see and what do they do. Now that I'm thinking about it I think it said Public Safety on her patch. Oh and she was not armed. ( well atleast not with a gun, but I wont go there on that one :lol: )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
Jack,

I think that BHA has unarmed "Public Safety" officers too. I think thats is who you saw. I believe they are similar to Municipal Site officers, except they arent sworn, and they monitor cameras and such. I am just providing an educated guess. Someone else may have better input.
 

·
Out of the Loop
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
Well, it definately wasn't a site officer because they wear gray shirts, although sometimes they may appear to be tan from a distance. The patches USED to say "Boston Municipal Police - Public Facilities." Now the patches just say "Municipal PROTECTIVE SERVICES :evil: - Property Management." Needless to say, some of us were quite upset when that change was made.

The patrol officer's shirt is blue and their patches just say "Boston Municipal Police." The patch design is also the same for BHA, so sometimes the two get confused, or I should say 3, as the BPS School Police also switched to blue shirts and the same design on their patches.

All Muni site and patrol officers wear the same style pants - blue with a dark gray stripe down the side.
 
G

·
Ya I thought that the site officers wore grey, we had a few come through Doughboy, But this girl defintily had brown on. Thanks Chris and Dunny.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top