Boston will promoted 20 police officers to detective to reinforce some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by gun violence, reports the Boston Globe. Last year, police solved only about 4 percent of the city’s 290 nonfatal shootings, a clearance rate that union officials blamed in part on the number of detectives working–currently about 310 overall. The three police districts where the new detectives will be assigned have accounted for about 35 percent of the city’s serious crime this year, up from 30 percent this time last year. The new detectives will be primarily responsible for investigating violent crime. Through last Wednesday there had been 59 shootings, a rise of 97 percent over the same time last year.
Robert Kenney, president of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, said he believes the department needs about 100 more detectives to adequately investigate the department’s caseload. ”Crimes don’t solve themselves,” Kenney said. ”You have to go out and knock on doors and ask questions.” He said the city needs to give new detectives better training. About a year ago, training was cut from six weeks to nine days, Kenney said, a change he believes is worrisome, especially in light of the spate of wrongful convictions that were exposed in 2004. The list of new detectives includes three women, four African-Americans, one Asian-American, and one Hispanic. Detective Eliezer Gonzalez hopes the department will promote more Hispanic detectives because, he said, in several areas of the city, an intimate knowledge of Hispanic language and culture is critical to solving crimes.