The Police Commission
Before the Control Board Springfield had a police Commission that in theory supervised the police department. In reality they did nothing because most of them were just rubber stamps. They had 2 year staggered terms. So any mayor was stuck with the appointees of his predecessors.
In addition the whole department fell under the civil service laws created by absolute lackeys in the legislature, it was pretty near impossible to fire them for not doing their job. In addition cops who commit crimes are treated very leniently by the District Attorney,
The legislature specifically stated in the laws of Massachusetts that the city police have no duty to solve crimes, protect property, nor to arrest criminals. Under the old Police Commission they exercised this function well.
1. Voters vote for Mayor, City Council, and the legislature based on public appearances, rather than genuine accomplishments, and agree to pay higher taxes
2. Mayor appoints 2 of the police commissioners, not enough to change anything
3. City Council must approve the appointments, most of the council has ties to the Police Department, bars, and other business that have an interests in being exempt from strict law enforcement
4. Police Commission appointees generally were rubber stamps for the entrenched police bureaucracy
5. Police Chief was a life time appointment, along with rest of the department. He could not be fired. In effect the police department is not subject to an elected government, and most elected officials have abdicated their responsibility to manage the police department anyway. In reality the chief told the mayor and the city council what to do.
6. The legislature appoints former cops to the civil service commission.
7. Some police end up on the civil service commission
8. While the civil service commission they is hard on other state employees, they hardly ever fire cops.
9. Some criminals are not arrested due to selective enforcement of laws.
1. The taxpayers pays :
2. the police department
3. The mayor who cannot run the police department
4. The chief who will not run the police department
5. The taxpayers pay the Civil Service Commission who will prevent any elected official from running the police department
6. The Police Commission did not run the police department
What Were the Results of this System?
Police refusing to respond to 911 calls
Police refusing to take action to protect property
Police refusing to make arrests of vandals
Police refusing to arrest people in possession of stolen property
Police arresting people for defending themselves
Police arresting people for defending their property
Police taking orders from neighborhood criminals
Police supervisors denying all knowledge of what their underlings had done or had not done
A Lieutenant arresting a minister because the lieutenant did not understand the statute the applied to the situation and “followed orders” Predicably no one has come forward and told us that he/she had given the order. Despite not understanding the statute, he continues to be lieutenant.
While the rest of us are told to tell our insurance company about vandalism, a car vandal was recently arrested and was severely punished by the judge, he stole parts from the car of a cop.
The police Commission decided that two cops blocking the road to read their newspaper were using “proper police procedures.”
While cops refused to enforce laws against vandalism Commissioner Keating called the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, literally making a federal case out of his broken window.
Response from the City Council was silence.
Response from Mayors Neal, Albano, was silence.
Response of the City Council was silence.
In effect we paid tax money for nothing.
1. The Finance Control Board eliminated the position of Chief of Police for life
2. They mayor
3. Elected by the voters
4. Appoints a police commissioner
5. An advisory citizens review board meets secretly and does not publicize their meetings, but they have no real authority
6. There is still a Civil Service Commission
7. Civil Service laws made by the legislature weaken the citizens control over the government.
Libertarian Solution of Robert Underwood
There is absolutely no way I would ever vote to go back to the old police commission with a chief of police for life.
If the police department insists on arresting people for defending themselves or their property, I would not vote to approve their budget. I would publically give credit to our local legislative delegation for the crime wave that they have helped to create through the weakening of the of the right of self defense. Maybe, just maybe, until we can replace them, they would act like responsible people and clean up the mess they made.
The fact that the city is chasing the same criminals over and over again is the legislature’s fault.
Deputy Chiefs and Captains should not have life time appointments, that is dictatorship.
Supervisors should be held responsible for the acts of those working for them. Right now is just a raise in pay.