Boston police union slams city, says some officers forced to work 24 hours straight
"This is simply unsafe and cannot be allowed to occur," said union head Larry Calderone
By Chris Van Buskirk
BOSTON — A union representing Boston police officers slammed the department they say “ordered” some officers to work for 24 hours straight over the weekend as a result of several major events in the city.
The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association said the Boston Police Department had 120 officers working overtime on Saturday to cover the city’s Open Streets festival in Jamaica Plain, a Red Sox-Yankees matchup at Fenway, and a festival in the Seaport District. The “vast majority” of officers, according to BPPA, were ordered to work 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 union said in a statement. “This is simply unsafe and cannot be allowed to occur. Officers simply cannot work for that many hours and still be expected to make split-second decisions in life-threatening situations.”
A request for comment sent to the Boston Police Department’s Media Relations Office was not immediately returned Monday morning.
A City of Boston spokesperson said, “we’re grateful for the service of our Boston Police officers every single day to keep residents and visitors in Boston safe.”
Of the 120 officers BPPA said were working Saturday, it was not immediately clear how many worked 24 hours straight. The union said at least five officers were also ordered to work 24 hours on June 25.
“It is unsafe for officers to be forced to work for 24 hours straight, and demonstrates the gross understaffing in the Boston Police Department,” the union said.
BPPA President Larry Calderone said the “crisis” shows why Boston spends so much on police overtime, arguing the department does not have enough officers to fill all shifts.
This comes as Boston’s new fiscal 2023 budget decreases the police budget by about 1%, or roughly $4.7 million. Police spending still accounts for the largest line item in the city’s $4 billion budget and overtime spending for fiscal year 2022 is expected to run the city $70 million, according to WGBH.
Calderone said it is “irresponsible” to hold multiple large events on the same day that will lead to “resources being spread thin and unsafe mandatory ordering.”
“The chronic understaffing of the BPD is now resulting in the unsafe situation for officers being ordered to work 24 hours straight,” Calderone said in a statement. “This is utterly unacceptable; the City is gambling with the safety of our community and our members by these reckless staffing decisions.”
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