BOSTON (CBS) – The WBZ I-Team has learned Boston Police officers are being taken off patrol in Dorchester to guard former Mayor Marty Walsh's house. Walsh became the U.S. Labor Secretary more than six weeks ago.
Sources tell the I-Team the house is guarded 24 hours a day seven days a week. "We've never seen that before," said WBZ security analyst and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "The fact that a protection detail is assigned to a former mayor, I don't think that has happened in the past."
Walsh was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Labor on March 23. Since then, Boston Police say it has been providing security at his home as part of an agreement with the federal government.
"I think it is a waste of taxpayer money to guard the house of the Labor Secretary, he's not the mayor anymore," one Boston resident said.
"I don't' think they're his personal security, so if they are going to be guarding him they should at least tell us why," another resident said.
Boston Police didn't say why Walsh's home needed security, but did say during the Obama administration, Boston Police were a visible presence at Secretary of State John Kerry's Beacon Hill home – and at one point arrested a man who had a pellet gun in his car.
"In the past we protected various senators and congress people, but it was usually around a specific threat," Davis said. "BPD would step in for that time, but that's usually something that is a federal responsibility."
In Walsh's case, the officers sitting in marked cruisers are working their regular shift and are taken off patrol to keep an eye on his house. "For every officer that's taken off patrol for a specific fixed assignment, you don't have that patrol function for the community," Davis said. "So it's certainly a concern. But again, it is up to the administration and the city to make a determination as to whether or not this is an appropriate use of police resources."
Sources say overtime is routinely used to fill in for staff shortages, but Boston Police say they are not using overtime to cover shifts at Walsh's house. Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who has her own security detail, wants to cut police overtime. Her spokesperson told the I-Team, "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."
But it does not appear to be common practice elsewhere. The I-Team found no security outside former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's house, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
WBZ reached out to the U.S. Department of Labor several times asking for comment. Each time they referred us back to Boston Police.
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