The Boston Police Identification Unit has for decades been a “dumping ground” for troubled cops who were responsible for handling critical evidence used to put suspected rapists and killers behind bars, reports the Boston Herald. Some police officers deemed unfit for street duty were regularly exiled by former commissioners Paul F. Evans and Francis “Mickey” Roache to the eight-member unit.
Some members of the unit are facing scrutiny in a criminal probe by Attorney General Tom Reilly. The unit has never been certified and has been manned by some officers who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, theft, and general incompetence, say department officials. For decades, the ID unit was housed in an unventilated basement. It’s now on the first floor of police headquarters. “It was in a cinderblock, windowless room and that is why no one wanted to work there,” said one police official.
Newly appointed Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole is revamping the entire ID unit, including moving to have it certified, and adding three officers and more supervisors. “There have been some very competent people who have worked in that unit as well, so I’d hate to paint with a broad brush,” said O’Toole. “On my watch, the ID section will not be a dumping ground. No unit in this department should be used as a dumping ground. If we have disciplinary problems we need to address them head on and deal with them without transferring a problem from one unit to another.”