Fitchburg police officer: It's time city moves forward - Sentin...

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I'd like to start off by saying that I am a Fitchburg Police Officer. I have been for the last 14 years.
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Fitchburg Native

Plainville, CT

#1 Apr 1, 2008
The police department in Fitchburg was never the problem. The problem was created by reckless financial political incompetence that lead to the slow victimization of all city departments. The police department has lost personnel and they lack the vital advanced technological equipment needed in any city this size to get their job done. They have done an extremely well job with the lack of tools and manpower that they have been handed. Blaming the victim has always been an easy excuse but it has never really solved any of the problems in this city. Mylott and Cronin had many outside financial resources (homeland security funding) available for equipment purchases but they never made the effort or even knew how to chase down that funding.
The incompetent political atmosphere in Fitchburg has lead to a whole sleuth of problems for the city. School buildings need major repairs and also lack the essentials tools needed to teach. City owned building have been neglected for years and most all of them need expensive renovations. The blight and crime in this city is a reflection of years and years of fuzzy math and political incompetence. The police department and all other departments throughout the city have been neglect ed by a political group of incompetent financial morons for lack of a better word. The majority of people employed by this city have all been struggling to get by for years and are all victims of this ignorance. 
Mayor Wong, like her predecessor might just find out that things don't work out so well when you forget or ignore the morale of the people you are relying on to effect the change you desire. When municipalities eliminate a chief of police position from the rank and file of its police force and bring in a political appointment from an outside "acquaintance" (in this case someone with absolutely zero knowledge and experience in local affairs) they are telling every man and woman on that department that no matter how good they are, no matter how high they climb, they will never be chief. Now we all know that 99% of them will never be chief anyway, but its that sense of possibility, coupled with the knowledge that one of the people in charge has been in your shoes that gives you the buy-in needed for positive change in a place like Fitchburg.
The bottom line is that those men and women in uniform have the experience, the training, and the authority to enforce the law and to make the changes needed and the politicians don't. Mayors and political appointments will come and go, but the majority of rank and file staff in any police organization will remain in their life long careers and most all welcome change with open arms.
See the inside

South Weymouth, MA

#2 Apr 1, 2008
Officer Bourne,
First of all, Thank You for serving.
It is interesting to hear from an insider.

Perhaps you and your Brothers could have a planned meeting with the Mayor and talk about those things with her.

Good Luck to you and your Brothers!
hmm

Leominster, MA

#3 Apr 1, 2008
Ofc. Bourne makes several good points, I agree the department has made much progress with the city and I do not think it was fair for them to be compared to a taxi service. However, it still sounds to myself and many other residents of the city that the police union is just cranky that it did not get its way this time...you guys already contolled one layoff situation and manipulated the system not to protect the streets of Fitchburg, but to serve your own interests within the union. 10 dispatchers lost their jobs not for the good of Fitchburg, but for the good of the police union. That is not fair.

How do you think your incoming chief felt reading an article written by the police union stating that it was disappointed Bozicas wasnt hired and felt insulted just days after he accepted the job? One can understand why he may already be using direct language. The police union needs to stop being selfish and stop complaining. You forced one chief to resign..I dont think you will be able to do that to this one.
angry

Princeton, MA

#4 Apr 1, 2008
The problem wasn,t about hiring inside or outside the department. The problem was the only one who wanted the job was not at all qualified. I dont care how long he has been on the department, to hire him as chief would have a grave injustice to the people living in this city. Please let the new guy see what he can do without the police union trying to force him out before he even gets started.
Susanne

AOL

#5 Apr 1, 2008


If you really want to move on. Then do it. Stop complaining about what people are saying. It is a job, and a well paying one at that. With great benefits. That is why you should be doing a great job.
I know it is not easy getting a new boss. However, that is what has happened, so stop whining and just get to work.
Lets see what the new chief has to offer. Has it ever occured to you and your fellow officers that he may just know more than you and Paul Bozicas about running the city ? Probably not. Guess what, he does.
DJB

Shrewsbury, MA

#6 Apr 1, 2008
Susanne wrote:
If you really want to move on. Then do it. Stop complaining about what people are saying. It is a job, and a well paying one at that. With great benefits. That is why you should be doing a great job.
I know it is not easy getting a new boss. However, that is what has happened, so stop whining and just get to work.
Lets see what the new chief has to offer. Has it ever occured to you and your fellow officers that he may just know more than you and Paul Bozicas about running the city ? Probably not. Guess what, he does.
If you think being a cop is like any other job and has great pay and benifits maybe you should join. First there are people sitting in offices making more and their biggest hazard is a paper cut. Would one of the great benifits of being a cop be the chance of being shot? When's the last time you went to work and had to wonder if you would be going home at the end of your shift? Also if the pay was so great there wouldn't be so many working a second job. I can give an example of what an officer does to get by. I know a Fitchburg Sargeant who has a construction business when not on duty and since construction has slowed resorted to doing a detail in a bar for extra money. I doubt a man would choose to be away from his family until 3am for a couple hundred dollars if he was getting so much as a cop. I bet if you talk to some cops you'll find you know people who make much more than them and don't get shot at during work.
Susanne

AOL

#7 Apr 1, 2008
DJB, your right, being a cop is not like any other job.
Being a fireman is not like any other job.
Being a nurse in an emergency room is no picnic either.
Even a guy picking up your infected trash has his problems.
You chose this job. You wanted to be a cop.

When a new boss is brought into the emergency room, I have NO say who that is. NONE.
He/she has their own way of running things. I deal with that. Just because my fellow employee who has been doing this job day in and day out for 25 years did not get the job, doesn't mean I cause the public display your union has.
I think what people can't get passed is the idea that you think YOU should decide who your boss is.
That idea is just crazy.
DJB

Rockport, MA

#8 Apr 1, 2008
Susanne just to clarify I am not a cop but I actually do fall into one of the jobs you mentioned. I just didn't agrre with your idea that it's a great paying job. I do know many officers and see what they do to make ends meet. I do agree they shouldn't make a public display of how they feel about the new chief. However I can understand them wanting someone who they've been dealing with and who knows the citys problems. It does make the transition of a new boss easier when you've been working with the person and don't have to figure out what the person is about. I don't think who the cheif is makes that much of a difference, the cops on the street still have the same job to do.
Boulder City

Damariscotta, ME

#9 Apr 1, 2008
I am a little troubled by this letter. Consider the following.

Last year, when the Dispatchers were let go, Matthew Straight wrote a letter to this paper to have a boot drive (like the Fire Dept. does for Muscular Distrophy), to come up with money for the Police Department.

Then we look at the Administration of Dan Mylott. I am not against hiring police officers, but when you bankrupt the city on just that, while the schools in this city are a joke (just go to the Fitchburg Library on a weekday afternoon and listen to the kids talk about the schools..) because teachers are laid off for hiring of more police officers is unreal. It isn't the officer's fault that then mayor was so short sighted on this issue. But yet it is ok of course.

But when the city had a Chief of Police, what did the union do...they basically pushed the Chief out. Now let's look at this in real life terms. One reader a few weeks ago compared the FPD to "a para-military organization." Having worked for two branches of the military, even I knew, that you didn't go trying to topple your boss (I had one who was an Army Major...). Yet, it seems that the union is ok to do just this. Then last week when the new Chief is hired what happens...those who didn't along with those related to started venting their frustration, as to who was selected.

Furthermore, this idea that the College area is alot safer now? I remember 3 or 4 years ago, and also with a relative that works at the College, during the night time, has told me alot of stories otherwise (alot of which that don't make the paper either...)

Officer Bourne, it is kinda hard with that type of history to feel like as readers of this paper, some of which were born in Fitchburg (and lived in Fitchburg during this turbulent period), to feel rather ticked off about this. In some cases I blame myself for voting for the mayoral candidate (Mylott), to whom your union had endorsed. Especially if this is type of respect one gets for it.

I am reminded of a line in the movie "Green Berets" when a Sargeant was being interviewed by people when asked about the Vietnam War, and if the soldiers were political robots, for going to war, the Sargeant replied "Foriegn Policy is not dictated by the Military, The purpose of solider is to go where his told to go by his commanders."

With all do respect to any officers who put on a badge (and I have known a few decent officers), this situation kinda brings respecting those people down quite a bit. Change is hard for most people, and Fitchburg changes were necessary, as it would seem that way.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Maybe it is time for the Police Department to stop practicing politics, and follow the commanders, and those who appoint them. After all, isn't that what it is supposed to be, an appointed position, not elected?

not suprised

Mattapan, MA

#10 Apr 1, 2008
DJB wrote:
<quoted text>If you think being a cop is like any other job and has great pay and benifits maybe you should join. First there are people sitting in offices making more and their biggest hazard is a paper cut. Would one of the great benifits of being a cop be the chance of being shot? When's the last time you went to work and had to wonder if you would be going home at the end of your shift? Also if the pay was so great there wouldn't be so many working a second job. I can give an example of what an officer does to get by. I know a Fitchburg Sargeant who has a construction business when not on duty and since construction has slowed resorted to doing a detail in a bar for extra money. I doubt a man would choose to be away from his family until 3am for a couple hundred dollars if he was getting so much as a cop. I bet if you talk to some cops you'll find you know people who make much more than them and don't get shot at during work.
Hmmm..... Ever been a teacher?
DJB

Shrewsbury, MA

#11 Apr 2, 2008
not suprised wrote:
<quoted text>Hmmm..... Ever been a teacher?
Are you comparing a teacher to a cop? Teachers don't get a great pay but thay do have the most paid time off of about any job. Although other school employees don't get paid for the same time off e.g. lunch workers, my mother was one. I'm sure some kids can be hard to deal with but don't think it compares to dealing with a suspected killer. I realize occassionally a kid may be violent, but it's not a daily thing. Teachers don't have to worry about getting poked with an AIDS infected needle while handing out homework. Teachers don't get shot while stopping a kid in the hallway. I'm sure as a teacher you've had some stressful days but I'm sure haven't gone to school wondering if you'd be going home at the end of the day.
hmm

Fitchburg, MA

#12 Apr 2, 2008
DJB...

You think its only occasionally that a child can be dangerous? If you know many Fitchburg Police officers...you need to speak to the former and current SROs, LEcuyer, McNamara, Ledoux, Balaguer, and currently L. Jackson.

Take a walk around an inner city school in todays world before you cast judgement that a teacher never needs to worry about being killed. And yes....for $33,000 a year with little oppurtunity for extra pay, unlike police officers who get the oppurtunity to work detials for $40 an hour.
Porky Pig

Fitchburg, MA

#13 Apr 2, 2008
Vietnam War, and if the soldiers were political robots, for going to war, the Sargeant replied "Foriegn Policy is not dictated by the Military, The purpose of solider is to go where his told to go by his commanders."

had the politicians listened to the "SOLDIERS" fighting the war, it would have ended in the win column instead of the lost column.

Interesting that Mayor Wonger has given the new police Chief 120K a year plus 2% increase every year for the next three years but offered the Soldiers ZERO pay raise for the same time period.

Yup way to lead! A 28 year old punk kid who has never had anything but a public sector job will lead the city into financial wreck!

You can have all the parties you want but without the uplifting of the soldiers in the trench this city will remain a shit hole.

If my mind still serves me correctly the teachers and firemen have gotten a raise over this same time period the inexperienced mayor wants cops to take no pay raise. If I was a cop would I be pissed off probably. Treated as a second class citizen by the Mayor and then expected to embrace all the political bull spread by Wonger, yeah I be a little upset.
hmm

Charlestown, MA

#14 Apr 2, 2008
120k a year is typical for a police chief in a city the size of Fitchburg...nothing unusual..others are paid much more. The teachers union went 2 years without a contract and without raises until the new contract was agreed on 2 years ago. And even then it was for one year retro, one year current, and the third to be negotiated at a later time (Currently)...so...whats your point?
Porky Pig

Fitchburg, MA

#15 Apr 2, 2008
Ha, Ha, Ha, teachers take one year of zero! Come on snowballer read your contract one more time. The zero you talk about was given to you in the form of 3 percent at the end of the fiscal year.
How about your contract giving you 12% over 3 years, better grab that book one more time.

No wonders the kids can't pass the MCAS, the teachers can't comprehend a basic contract.

Great job no wonders the public is pushing for school reform, including holding teachers accountable for the dumbness of the students .

Current Resident

Princeton, MA

#16 Apr 2, 2008
The new mayor of Fitchburg is a joke. I really hate to admit that I am a home owner in Fitchburg. Why did I not buy that property in Leominster!

On the other hand I would like to welcome in the new PD Chief. Many years to follow!
hmm

Charlestown, MA

#17 Apr 2, 2008
Porky Pig....Im not a teacher. Nice try, though. And you are the one who needs to get facts straight. The retro year was for %2, the following year %2, and the third still has not been decided. I may be off by a percent or two (this is, after all...not my contract). You are greatly mis-informed if you think Fitchburg teachers have recieved a %12 raise in the past three years, that is absolutly not correct.
Peanut Gallery

Charlestown, RI

#18 Apr 2, 2008
1.) Interesting that just about all the arguments with respect to the new Chief revolve around whether or not he was from Fitchburg, and not actual qualifications.

2.) My spouse is a teacher. When you net out all the time they give correcting, chaperoning, coaching, planning, waiting for kids parents to remember to pick them up, etc., it nets out to almost what you'd make flipping burgers. The experienced ones anyway. They do it because they like to teach your kids.

3.) Porky, her name is Wong, and 75% of this city voted for her. Start liking it.
Shirley Whitcomb

Danvers, MA

#19 Apr 3, 2008
I absolutely agree with you Keith, and thank you, all of you who protect my rights everyday.
Aunt Shirley:)
Annon

Plainville, CT

#20 Apr 3, 2008
hmm wrote:
120k a year is typical for a police chief in a city the size of Fitchburg...nothing unusual..others are paid much more. The teachers union went 2 years without a contract and without raises until the new contract was agreed on 2 years ago. And even then it was for one year retro, one year current, and the third to be negotiated at a later time (Currently)...so...whats your point?
The average Police Chief pay in Massachusetts is $65,000...
http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-...

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