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City warns Safe Street teams could end with new police award

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis cited the primacy of walking routes in making streets safe.
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis cited the primacy of walking routes in making streets safe.

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Safe Street teams, the community policing program that has been credited with reducing crime in Boston over the last several years, could cease to exist if the City Council accepts an arbitrator’s award that would give police a sizable pay hike and make other changes to department policy, city officials say.

Proposed alterations to the way members of those teams are selected could limit their opportunities for overtime pay and prompt them to quit the 14 units. Officers assigned to the teams walk and bike through the city’s roughest neighborhoods to form relationships with business owners, community leaders, and residents.

“This effectively will end the Safe Street teams,” Paul Curran, the city’s director of labor relations told the City Council during a hearing on the patrolmen’s award. “The way this arbitration award was written, [officers] will not stay.”

Union officials scoffed at the assertion, saying they support the Safe Street teams.

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