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Boston Police Commissioner says it's 'hard to attract people' during officer shortage

Boston Police Commissioner opens up about officer shortage
Boston Police Commissioner opens up about officer shortage 02:18

BOSTON - Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox is opening up about the shortage of police officers in his department, ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade and the busy summer months.

"There's been certainly a loss of love for this job. We do so many positive things and yet it's hard to attract people. It's hard to get people to stay on board," Cox told reporters on Monday.

There are roughly 1,600 officers on the force right when there should be close to 2,000 according to the Boston Police Patrolman's Association. The union says about 400 officers have retired in the last four years.

Michael Cox BPD
Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox CBS Boston

Earlier this year, Cox called the situation dire and put out a call for police officers from other departments to transfer to Boston. Thus far, Boston has not removed the requirement that Boston Police officers live in the city for 10 years.

"That's a discussion with us and the mayor. Even if we did, I don't know how much of an impact that would be right now," Cox said.

BPPA President Larry Calderon argues that the residency requirement should be removed because of the cost of living in Boston.

"Who's going to want to move to Boston from a city where they're paid well? Where they're respected by their elected officials?" Calderone said.

Calderone says officers routinely work double shifts and that many are burned out.

There is a new class of police officers that could start in Boston at the beginning of next year. The department is also in the process of hiring 60 cadets, but the union says that is just a Band-Aid.

Both Cox and Calderone agree that improving public perception of police will help them hire.

"To make sure that this is always a place where young people want to join to help because that is all we're here to do," Cox said.  

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