Mass. city council to consider $1,300 annual stipend for officers wearing body cameras

If the council approves the ordinance, eligible members will receive $650 within 30 days of when the agreement goes into effect

By Kiernan Dunlop

WORCESTER, Mass. — Some Worcester police officers could soon see a bump in their paychecks for wearing body cameras.

Worcester City Council is set to consider a salary ordinance amendment that would make members of the Local 911 police union eligible for a $1,300 annual stipend for wearing body cameras.

One of multiple charging stations for body cameras used by the Worcester Police Department.
One of multiple charging stations for body cameras used by the Worcester Police Department. (Photo/Ryan Mancini of via TNS)

City Manager Eric Batista is recommending the adoption of the ordinance after completing a collective bargaining agreement with Local 911- New England Police Benevolent Association, according to a letter he wrote to the council.

Amending the ordinance is necessary to implement the agreement, according to William Bagley Jr., the city’s director of human resources.

If the council approves the ordinance, eligible members of Local 911 will receive $650 within 30 days of when the agreement between the city and the union goes into effect which is meant to cover the period from Jan. 1 to June 30. Effective July 1, each bargaining unit member would receive a stipend in the gross amount of $1,300.

The Worcester Police Department launched its body camera program on Feb. 27 with 300 cameras.

In April 2022, a report by then-City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said the 300 body-worn cameras, along with an order of TASERS, from Axon Enterprises, Inc., would cost about $3.9 million and be paid out over five years.

During a Feb. 8 council meeting, Rick Cipro, president of Worcester Police Officials Union Local 504, asked for a delay to the Feb. 27 start to the program, stating that while the union was not against the use of body cameras, their use marks a “major change of working conditions.”

A change in working conditions is a mandatory subject of bargaining, Cipro said, and the union wanted to make sure its officers and the public understood that.

Cipro asked for the delay so the union could continue to negotiate its collective bargaining agreement and “get this done.” The start to the program was not delayed.

Cipro’s union, Worcester Police Officials Union Local 504, is not named in the proposed amended ordinance.

Worcester police officers are some of the highest earners on the city payroll. Of the 50 highest-earning city employees in 2022, 47 were members of the Worcester Police Department, according to payroll data from the city.

The city isn’t solely responsible for the officers’ high pay; many officers work details that are paid for by the businesses that hire them. The highest-earning city employee in 2022, Worcester Police Capt. Matthew D’Andrea, had a gross pay of $286,932 and earned $51,488 in detail pay.

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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