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'The crime in the city is out of control': Boston Police union calls for more officers after violent weekend

Boston Police union renews calls for more officers after violent weekend
Boston Police union renews calls for more officers after violent weekend 02:32

BOSTON – Chaos across Boston Sunday night ended in 13 kids arrested after more than eight fights broke out, injuring police officers and closing businesses from the South Bay Shopping Center in Dorchester to Downtown Crossing.

"The crime in the city is out of control," said Larry Calderone, the president of the union that represents Boston Police members. "The behavior of the teenagers is out of control."

The Boston Police Patrolmen's Association is sounding the alarm after the dangerous weekend for officers was a grim reminder of a severe staffing shortage in the department.

"We need hundreds of officers, and we need them tomorrow," Calderone said.

According to Calderone, Boston Police are nearly 500 officers short.

That shortage meant Mass. State Police had to help when more than 100 kids caused havoc at South Bay Shopping Center Sunday night.

"I'm very proud of all of our officers for having to work that many hours that they did under tough circumstances," Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said in a news conference Monday.

While both Cox and the union agree there's a staffing shortage at Boston Police, they disagree on why. The BPPA president tells WBZ a large contributing factor is the department's residency requirement, which makes it mandatory that an officer lives in the city of Boston for ten years in order to be on the job.

"To be frank, police officers are not going to uproot their families, and come to the most expensive city in the commonwealth to try and purchase a $900,000 home with failing school systems and crime that is rampant," Calderone said.

Commissioner Cox, who has been in discussions with Mayor Wu and the union but doesn't support proposals to remove the residency requirement, tells WBZ he doesn't believe that's the main issue. Rather, he says, departments state and nationwide are struggling to hire. "There is a correlation between respect for the job, appreciation for the job," he said.

Still, the lack of staff makes it challenging to cover big situations like the fights among teenagers at South Bay. According to police reports, South Bay has been plagued by "countless incidents of violence from groups of young people." 

"We are taking assistance from throughout the city and jeopardizing those police services throughout the entire city of Boston, so that we can put the appropriate manpower over at South Bay on the weekends," Calderone said.

Commissioner Cox told WBZ the department has made every effort to hire more officers but have not had the success for which they had hoped.

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