Saturday, 2:15 PM
Boston Police to lay off 60 people, Davis says in memo
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff
Boston police will lay off 60 people from the department, 20 civilians and 40 cadets, as of July 1, according to an internal memo from Commissioner Edward F. Davis.
The cuts are part of a proposal to avert layoffs of uniformed officers and bridge a $20 million budget gap for fiscal 2010.
The cadets handle tasks from answering phones to directing traffic but have no police powers or authority. They are part of a two-year training program that makes them eligible to join the department as an officer.
The civilians will be cut from the horse unit and will include the storekeeper and the unit's nine hostlers, who care for the horses. The Operations Division Neighborhood Interaction Unit, which is responsible for taking calls for minor offenses and property crimes, will lose 10 civilian employees.
Davis told his command staff in a meeting today that the horse unit and the bicycle unit could be disbanded and that 10 or more recruits in the Boston Police Academy could be laid off.
The cuts would mean that the horses in the mounted unit could be sold or given back to the owners that loaned them to the department.
Under the cost-cutting plan, officers from the gang unit and the bomb squad would also be moved out of their Dorchester headquarters and detectives from the sexual assault unit and the domestic violence unit would be relocated from their headquarters at the Family Justice Center in Brighton, the officials said.
News of the meeting rippled through the department's rank and file today, with many officers and civilians fearful over what could come next.
"We don't know what's going on," said one long-time employee.
Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department, said the city's labor relations department was meeting with union officials this afternoon and there would be no official comment from police until that meeting was over.
"At that time we'll discuss our plans to move forward," she said.
Miller Thomas, who heads the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, said the last time his union met with the city about the wage freeze was in January. Since then, no one in his union has been contacted by the city to discuss the freeze again.
"These substantive high level meetings have not been taking place," he said. Thomas declined to comment on the city's position that the wage freeze could help save jobs, saying it's a matter for negotiation.
"My position is that just like we didn't negotiate our contract through the media, we don't negotiate this through the media," he said. "I'm disturbed by the fact that I'm hearing people negotiate things in the media. It's just not the way things are done."