No doubt that you have heard the overactive rumor mill regarding possible legislation on private paid details. Sandulli Grace is in constant contact with the legislative officers of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MassCOP) and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA). Here’s what we know as of Tuesday Morning, April 1. This situation is developing hourly, and we will continue to keep you up to date:
The House transportation bill does not contain any attack on the use of sworn police officers to direct traffic at road construction jobs. There is a possibility that the Senate will attach a rider onto its version of the transportation bill that does impact details. If you agree that sworn police officers at private details provide enhanced public safety in a cost effective manner, you should call your senator and representative to let them know how important it is to maintain these protections.
CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR TODAY TO TELL THEM WHY sworn police officers at private details provide enhanced public safety in a cost effective manner.
You can look up your senator and representative (and get their phone numbers) here, by going here, http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php
Our client MassCOP has developed the following helpful information regarding details, which you can cite when speaking with your legislators: (You can also download the information as a .pdf using this link: mcop-police-details-make-sense.pdf )
POLICE DETAILS AT WORK ON OUR ROADS PROVIDING ENHANCED PUBLIC SAFETY IN A COST EFFECTIVE MANNER
Putting aside the rhetoric and hyperbole, the facts demonstrate that having sworn police officers assigned to road and highway construction projects – so-called Paid Police Details – provides both enhanced public safety and cost effectiveness.
POLICE DETAILS ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY:
Sworn police officers are trained emergency first responders, ready and able to:
- Perform CPR
- Utilize defibrillators maintained in cruisers in the case of cardiac episode
- Communicate effectively with fire and EMS responders, ensuring fast, effective response when accidents occur
- Just last week, the first responders to the MBTA train tragedy in Canton were four Canton Police Officers (all members of MCOP) working a nearby private detail. These trained offices were able to immediately identify the needs and call for fire and ambulance services, and begin to provide emergency services while awaiting the arrival of the EMTs.
Sworn police officers performing private details means more cops on the street:
- Police officers perform private details in the communities they police, providing extra protection to the people of the community in the event of a crime
- Officers routinely assist motorists while performing private details
- Officers routinely respond to emergency calls while performing paid details, frequently being able to respond faster than officers who are providing services elsewhere
- Officers provide security to the construction and utility workers doing their jobs in high crime areas
POLICE DETAILS ARE COST EFFECTIVE:
The use of civilians to direct traffic at construction sites is unlikely to lead to meaningful costs savings:
Contractors will be required to pay civilians state prevailing wages to take the place of sworn police officers. The prevailing wage for such “flagmen” is currently (figures provided by Massachusetts Department of Labor):
- Metro Boston $37.45 per hour
- Central Mass $34.05
- Springfield $30.72
- Berkshires $29.97
In addition, contractors will need to pay payroll taxes and provide health insurance to civilians hired to replace sworn police officers. When you add it up, it doesn’t make sense.