Sunday, September 25

BPD budget sideswiped by politics


Boston is indeed a sanctuary city. It’s where immigration rules are obstructed, and progressive agendas bloom.

Once again, the Boston Police Department is square in the political crosshairs, as another city budget advances with cuts to the department’s funds.

As the Herald reported, the City Council’s unanimously approved $4 billion budget for the coming year includes slicing $13.3 million out of the police budget, most coming from overtime funds.

“Our proposed policies have begun to match our jargon, and our actions have inched closer to our words,” Ways and Means Chair Tania Fernandes Anderson said.

But the match of policies to jargon (or agenda), is not new.

In 2020, then-Mayor Marty Walsh submitted a budget taking $12M from the BPD’s overtime funds, shifting the money to programs including the Boston Public Health Commission ($3M) and economic development initiatives to support minority and women owned businesses ($2M).

Last year, Acting-Mayor Kim Janey Janey’s budget cut about $4M from BPD OT.

“Defund the police” rhetoric was still in full swing, and in the cases of both Walsh and Janey, there were calls for more cuts from the police budget.

But the City Council is happy with this go-round, and Anderson note that the resulting budget is “working toward a better, safer, more equitable city that takes care of its residents and employees.”

It takes care of some employees very well. One provision takes $600,000 from the police and allocates it to “right-size” council staff wages.

We doubt that the “right size” will be “small.”

Over the course of three years, the BPD will have lost nearly $30M. With this administration’s plan to cut the police overtime budget, how do city leaders propose scaling back events that would require officers to work extra shifts?

Festivals, concerts, demonstrations – all  require security – and  that’s if everything goes well. According to reports, the city of Boston paid nearly $5.8 million in overtime pay to police officers who worked in response to protests following the killing of George Floyd in the spring and summer of 2020. All hell broke loose – can you imagine having fewer officers to respond because they were “off the clock?”

In  2012, Occupy Boston reportedly cost the city $1.4 million for officers to patrol and dismantle the Dewey Square encampment.

Will the city be also be denying licenses to events such as Boston Calling? How about the Boston Marathon? The progressive worldview tends to see police as the threat, but we doubt that MBTA riders looked at the officers stepping up patrols on the T after the recent New York City subway with disdain.

This year especially, cuts to the BPD are seen as a win.”This is is an opportunity for us to find the dollars to make it happen,” City Councilor Julia Mejia said

These are not found dollars – they are taken.

Mayor Michelle Wu has yet to sign off on the City Council budget, but it is highly unlikely the person who got police out of Boston schools will want the BPD to keep all their funding.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul never made good public policy.

 



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