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Five-year Contract Ratified by Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society

The new contract builds on wage adjustments and codifies significant reforms in December’s BPPA contract, including a major overhaul of court time

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Mayor Michelle Wu today announced that a new five year collective bargaining agreement has been ratified by the members of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society (BPDBS), the union exclusively representing Boston Police detectives. The union includes members of the Boston Police Department holding the rating of Detective. Since the start of her administration, Mayor Wu has made it a priority to achieve reform within the Boston Police Department (BPD). This has been accomplished through contract negotiations, delivering the highest standards of community policing to keep our residents safe, and by ensuring resources for the health and well-being of police officers and their families. The BPDBS contract expired on June 30, 2020. The ratification vote took place on Friday, March 1, 2024. Reforms in the BPDBS contract are consistent with, and build upon, operational reforms ratified in the BPPA contract announced last December.

“This historic contract builds on the groundbreaking agreement ratified by the BPPA late last year. This contract includes the same significant reforms to overtime, paid details, and officer education, plus an additional reform to how court overtime is administered,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This agreement also includes quality of life improvements for the police detectives that work hard every day for the safety of our city, and I’m grateful to the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society for working with us to achieve these reforms.”

“I am happy to stand by an agreement between the BPDBS (Detectives) and the City that respects and honors the leadership and exemplary investigative police service that the men and women of the Detectives Society provide every day,” said Donald Caisey, President of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society. “I thank Mayor Wu and her team for bargaining and for working with us to deliver a historic agreement, including changes to court time, that will support the needs of detectives and their families for years to come. We look forward to continuing to work to make Boston a safe city for all.”

“We are pleased to see another union reach an agreement with the City to settle their Contract.” said Commissioner Michael Cox, Boston Police Department. “Once again, our officers have shown leadership in agreeing to implement important reforms that will continue to reinforce trust with those we serve. Through this agreement, the Detectives have shown their commitment to elevating the standards of transparency and accountability expected of the Boston Police Department.”

The new agreement covers the period from July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2025, at a total five-year estimated cost of $22.2 million, or an increase of 23% over the entire period. This is the first contract pertaining to Boston Police detectives that delivers significant reforms, and costs are in line with those seen in the union’s prior contracts without noted operational reforms.

  • FY21-FY25 - 23.3% over 5 years (a 4.7% average annual increase) 
  • FY17-FY20 - 17.3% over 4 years (a 4.3% average annual increase) 
  • FY11-FY16 - 28.7% over 6 years (a 4.8% average annual increase) 

Cost of Living Adjustments

The contract includes the following base wage increases to ensure detectives are paid fairly.

  • Effective first pay period July 2020 (FY21) - 2.0%
  • Effective first pay period July 2021 (FY22) - 1.5%
  • Effective first pay period July 2022 (FY23) - 2.0%
  • Effective first pay period July 2023 (FY24) - 1.0%
  • Effective first pay period July 2024 (FY25) - 2.5%

Court Time

Boston Police detectives who attend court as a witness or in any other capacity on behalf of the department or City are entitled to overtime compensation. Previously, if a court hearing or proceeding was canceled under 72 hours, detectives were entitled to compensation for every hour they were scheduled to be in attendance and mandated at minimum 4 hours of pay. In FY22, the City spent $8 million in court overtime pay for the entire Boston Police Department. To ensure that this contract is reflective of advances made in technology and scheduling, this new contract cuts the cancellation time down from 72 hours to 24 hours, marking a significant reform that will reduce the amount of mandatory overtime paid out to officers.

  • FY24 - $997,741.36 paid out in court overtime to detectives by the department (as of today)
  • FY23 - $1,189,894.35 paid out in court overtime to detectives by the department 
  • FY22 - $1,443, 387.20 paid out in court overtime to detectives by the department 
  • FY21 - $920, 367.27 paid out in court overtime to detectives by the department  

Discipline

This contract designates a list of offenses that will not be eligible for arbitration as a pathway to overturn discipline or termination issued by the department. A detective will face discipline without arbitration if they are indicted for, or if a sustained Internal Affairs finding is issued and upheld for, a defined list of offenses.

These offenses are: indecent assault and battery on child under age of 14; assault and battery to collect loan; indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability; felony for hire; wanton or reckless behavior creating a risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child; mayhem; assault with intent to murder or maim; attempt to murder; murder; armed robbery; assault with intent to rob or murder; use of firearms while committing a felony; stealing by confining or putting in fear; rape; rape of child; rape of a child during commission of certain offenses or by use of force; rape of a child through use of force by certain previously convicted offenders; rape and abuse of child; rape and abuse of child aggravated by age difference between defendant and victim or by when committed by mandated reporters; rape and abuse of child by certain previously convicted offenders; assault with intent to commit rape; assault of child with intent to commit rape; extortion; kidnapping (weapons; child under age 16); drug trafficking; drugging persons for kidnapping; enticement of child under age 18 to engage in prostitution; human trafficking or commercial sexual activity; hate crimes (MGL c. 22C s. 32); and hate crimes involving assault or battery for the purpose of intimidation (weapons; punishment) (MGL c. 265 s. 39).

Paid Details

New Highest-Priority Detail Category

Boston Police officers previously were the only eligible personnel to perform paid details for events or construction sites that involve traffic disruption on City roadways, but many priority details went unfilled and had to be covered by mandated overtime at significant cost to the department and the City. To ensure the highest priority traffic details are covered to keep traffic flowing and to keep road users safe, the City will now categorize details by priority. Highest priority details, or Type 1 Details, are events and activities that pose a substantial risk to public safety, including major events with anticipated attendance over 5,000 people; utility or construction details at major arteries, in busy intersections, or in areas with heavy traffic; or areas due to an emergency. These kinds of details will be filled first before any others and offer higher hourly compensation. All other details will be considered Type 2 Details and compensated at the existing rate.

Expanded Personnel to Fill All Details

If details go unfilled by Boston Police officers, the open detail shifts can be offered to Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission certified officers, including Boston Police Department retirees, Boston Housing Authority Police officers, and college/university police officers. After details are offered to these groups, Boston Municipal Protective Services Officers and Sergeants and contracted civilian personnel will be offered the opportunity to accept the detail shifts. Opening up the detail system to ensure that other workers can perform traffic control will ensure better coverage of details throughout Boston and safer, smoother traffic flow on our streets. The opportunity for more workers to perform details also creates economic opportunity throughout Boston’s neighborhoods as trained personnel will have opportunities to earn income through detail work.

Eliminating Double-Booking of Details

This contract ends the practice of allowing officers who finish a detail early to start another detail, preventing the accumulation of double pay for the same period of time.

Streamlining Administration of Detail Assignment

Additionally, instead of the current paper system used to assign details in each police district, the City now has the legal authority to implement a technology based platform (i.e., electronic, web based or app based programs) for the administration, management and assignment of paid details across the city. Also, after fully implementing this transition in technology and administration, the sworn officers performing those duties will be reassigned for other needed police work.

Central Booking:

This new contract gives the BPD the legal authority to proceed with setting up a central lock-up facility.

Medical Leave

The process to address extended medical leave through arbitration is long and complex. Under the new contract, when there is disagreement between an officer’s doctor and BPD’s doctor regarding an officer’s ability to return to work after being out on leave, instead of engaging in arbitration, an Independent Medical Examiner will determine the employee's fitness to return to light duty. This will simplify and streamline the process.

Union Release

The contract will reduce the number of officers attending to union business while being on duty and paid by the City. Specifically, this contract settlement curtails union release time by approximately 37% by limiting the number of hours allowed for labor management committees, appearances before the City Council, and other union business. 

Career Awards Retention Program

Effective July 2023, this contract establishes a new Transitional Career Awards Program for Detectives with five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five years of experience while eliminating the current Cumulative Risk Enhancement Adjustments career awards program. This brings police officer’s career advancement opportunities in line with those of the Boston Fire Department as a tool for retention at the department. 

Educational Incentive Plan

Boston Police officers receive salary adjustments to reflect continuing education incentives. This contract increases the qualifying schools to include the University of Massachusetts System, Northeastern University, and Boston University, and increases the qualifying degrees to include Sociology, Psychology, and Public Administration–aligned with the skills and training to further enhance community policing and improve organizational management.

Parental Leave

This contract settlement provides paid parental leave to the members of the bargaining unit for the first time. 

“This contract settlement further cements Mayor Wu’s commitment to reforming the Boston Police Department through collective bargaining. The Mayor’s focus on cutting down on the routine use of court overtime is a significant win,” said Rev. Art J. Gordon, Pastor of St. John Missionary Church in Roxbury. “At the same time, this contract contains wins for both sides – like paid parental leave for the first time – that will help the BPD hire and retain qualified and diverse personnel.”   

Collective bargaining with the BPDBS during the Wu administration has been ongoing for nearly 18 months. The parties met in more than a dozen sessions to hammer out this contract settlement. 

The ratification of the BPDBS contract codifying key operational reforms and fair compensation builds on Mayor Wu’s work to ensure that Boston continues to deliver the highest standards of community policing in the country. In December, Mayor Wu announced that a new five-year collective bargaining agreement has been ratified by the membership of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA), the union representing the majority of Boston Police officers.

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