Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole says she needs more officers on the streets to tackle rising numbers of shootings and homicides, the Boston Globe reports. She hopes to refocus on that after Tuesday’s city election, in which crime has emerged as a major issue. The police department, which has about 1,300 patrol officers, is short 200 to 300 officers. The number of shootings causing injuries and deaths in the city this year is up more than 25 percent over last year. ”The bottom line is we need more cops on the street,” O’Toole told the Globe. She is working with the mayor to address the need for more officers despite state and federal funding cuts. Candidates for City Council and mayor have lashed out at the city’s crime-fighting efforts, saying that not enough is being done to ensure residents’ safety.
Week’s after O’Toole took over in February 2004 she had to apologize after a blistering internal report cited faulty police planning for riots after the 2004 Super Bowl that left a man dead. In July 2004, contentious contract negotiations with police unions nearly disrupted the Democratic National Convention. In September 2004, a consultant issued a scathing report about a lack of training in the police fingerprint analysis lab. A month later, police wielding pepper-pellet guns killed an innocent bystander after the Red Sox won the pennant. By the end of 2004, the rate of homicides solved fell to its worst level in a decade, while the number of homicides increased to 64, the second most since 1996. ”We’ve had one crisis after another, one challenge after another, since I started,” O’Toole said. ”I’ve had to force myself to step aside and look at the [long-term] strategic goals.”