It has been sixty-eight days since former Boston City Mayor, Martin J. Walsh, was sworn in as the United States Secretary of Labor, stepping down from his position with the city to continue his political career at the federal level. Walsh, who has been embattled in controversy ever since leaving office, whether it be for his miss-management of the Police Commissioner selection, or the state in which he left methadone mile, has had anything but a smooth transition.
Even though Marty moved to Washington D.C. more than ten weeks ago, what is now coming under scrutiny in recent weeks is the fact that there is a Boston Police detail that guards his Dorchester residence 24 hours a day 7 days a week. During an interview with another organization, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, went on record to say that this is not common practice for a former Mayor, with only a handful of former congressmen and state politicians receiving police security details, usually only when there is a determined threat present. In the case of Marty, Boston Police have been unable to identify or point to a threat, calling into question why BPD resources are being used as a part of an secretive agreement with the federal government for someone who is now a federal employee. This conundrum is one that is being called into question throughout the community, with some arguing that it is an abuse of power and a misappropriation of public resources.
Members of the department that we have spoken with have expressed their concerns about this ongoing security detail. While they wish to remain anonymous for fears of retaliation, the concern stems from other areas in the community having a greater need for policing, as well as why it is the responsibility of BPD when he is now under federal employ. Former Commissioner Davis echoed this sentiment, stating that “they would step in for that time, but that’s usually something that is a federal responsibility” as opposed to the taxpayers in the city to fund a federal security detail. The ultimate goal of the Boston Police Department is to keep everyone in the city they work to protect and serve as safe as possible, and frustrations rise when that can’t be carried out to the full extent because manpower is being used to protect the residence of a former city politician.
Furthermore, crime is notoriously more rampant in the summer months, and a full-time detail for a residence where the individual is no longer residing full-time is hard for some in the community to justify, as it is taking patrolmen off the streets and instead putting them on a stagnant posting. While they claim that no overtime has been used in fueling these security details, Kim Janey, who replaced Marty as Acting Mayor, and also has a full-time 24/7 detail as well as a team of drivers at her beckoned call at all times, has not only called for a police budget reduction, but a potential staff reduction as well. Marty’s residence in Dorchester is patrolled by C-11, a district that sees a lot of criminal activity, and Mayor Janey’s residence is patrolled by B-2, covering Roxbury, which is notorious for being one of the most, if not the most, violent district in the city. So with this being said, if no overtime is used, than this means the officers tasked with babysitting their homes, are officers who should instead be working patrol in their districts.
When Janey’s team was pressed on the support for a full detail for the former Mayor, they responded with “Secretary Walsh is a member of President Biden’s cabinet, and not simply the former Mayor of Boston. Enhanced security for dignitaries is common practice”…however, when you look at other members of state government that have joined Biden’s cabinet, you don’t find this to be true. The former Governor of Rhode Island is now the Secretary of Commerce, but no security detail can be found outside of her residence. Further more Janey, as well as the other notoriously ant-police candidates, such as Wu and Campbell have refused to answer a question that many inside the police department as well as city residents have been asking: If you become mayor and choose to defund and reduce the Police Department, will you start with getting rid of your own 24/7 detail and team of overqualified chauffeurs first? For now, all of our questions still remain unanswered. When will this wasteful and hypocritical practice end.