Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis is meting out harsher punishments for officers who commit infractions that once resulted in reprimands and short suspensions, says the Boston Globe. The sanctions are raising protests from union officials and lawyers. One officer is facing a two-week suspension for frisking a motorist for a gun after a routine traffic stop. Such a violation in the past rarely led to any disciplinary action, says the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. In the past year, another officer was suspended for 30 days after he looked up an assault victim’s criminal background on a police computer as a favor to a friend who was accused of the assault. Such a violation used to be punished by about a week’s suspension.
The department has been criticized for being too lax in its discipline of wayward officers. Officials from the three officer unions say the tougher penalties are fueling mistrust and hurting Davis’s relationship with the rank and file. “It kills morale,” said Detective Jack Parlon, president of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society. “We need to apply punishment, but the punishment has to meet the crime, and I think it’s out of proportion right now.” Davis said he understood the union’s position, “but we have some serious issues in the Boston Police Department that have got to be addressed.”