Investments to strengthen public safety in Boston
Building on his commitment to strengthen public safety in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a series of investments included in the City's recommended Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) operating budget and capital plan aimed at supporting public safety for a growing city, furthering the Boston Police Department's ongoing work in strengthening community relationships and prevention programs, securing a force reflective of the communities in which it serves, providing supports to reduce the effects of trauma and recidivism, and keeping residents safe and healthy in all neighborhoods across the city.
"Every resident of our city should feel safe in their neighborhood, which is why we are investing in the full spectrum of public safety in this year's budget, from prevention, to intervention, enforcement and mental health," said Mayor Walsh. "As Boston continues to grow as a city, and as technology continues to evolve, it's important that our public safety services grow alongside to keep Boston safe and make a positive impact in our neighborhoods."
"Our top priority at the Boston Police Department is keeping our residents safe. The additional funding that the Mayor has dedicated for public safety will allow us to continue our work in building trust in communities, with the tools we need to keep people safe," said Commissioner William Evans of the Boston Police Department. "In the upcoming year, we will continue to grow the size and diversity of our force to reflect our growing city, and will do all we can to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods."
The Mayor's investments in the recommended budget and capital plan provide a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to violence prevention and public safety that emphasizes opportunities and pathways away from violence. The BPD budget investment represents a 3.8 percent, or $14.6 million, increase over the previous fiscal year. Investments include:
Investing in Prevention and Intervention Initiatives to increase positive interaction with local youth, strengthen community relations, and listen to and address the public safety concerns of residents. To accomplish this, Mayor Walsh proposes to invest $1.6 million in BCYF's streetworker program to continue their work of reducing crime and violence in the community by building meaningful relationships with youth in need. This investment will help bring more social services to promote safe neighborhood in the city and bring more resources to youth and families.
This initiative is paired with $250,000 in funding in youth development grants to complement the City's Summer Jobs program, the Shannon Grant program and the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. In FY18, BPD distributed grants to 11 local organizations to provide education, conflict resolution training and other services. BPD will also interact directly with high risk youth, and will continue programs such as the youth/police dialogues, Operation Night Light, the Police Teen Academy, and support local organizations in their mission of aiding formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society and reducing recidivism through the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative grant.
Included FY19-23 capital plan, the City and BPS will increase its investment in school security to a total of $5 million, representing a $2 million increase from the previous year. The project includes upgrades to external and internal doors, locks and key cards, intercom, motion detectors and cameras. Additionally, $2 million will be allocated for the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) to begin planning for the installation of additional security cameras at BHA locations.
"Mayor Walsh continues to build the bridge between our communities and our Boston Police Department," said City Councilor Tim McCarthy. "I can't say enough about Commissioner Evans, his team, and our community partners- they all work together to make Boston the world class city it is today."
Strengthening Emergency Services and Enforcement to meet the demands of a growing city, while ensuring a robust, effective and accountable police department that better reflects the communities it serves.
Building on the continued success of recruiting a diverse police cadet class in FY18, the FY19 budget adds another cadet class of 20 cadets in the spring of 2019. This addition of 20 cadets will continue to provide a stable pipeline of diverse young people for future police officer classes. With this investment, the Mayor has supported over 90 cadets in three classes since the cadet program was reinstated in 2015.
In addition, in FY19 the City will grow the size of the police force by 30 officers to reach a total of over 2,210 officers. These extra officers will boost the City's policing capacity to the largest in over a decade and will bolster the City's community-policing efforts.
In addition, the budget will include a $2 million investment to implement permanent adoption of police-worn body cameras beginning in FY19. In FY18, the city funded a $500,000 pilot program for the first police-worn body cameras, with the final results of the pilot expected to be released in June 2018.
BPD will also continue to focus on new technological improvements including the rollout of additional mobile devices to officers; security upgrades at the evidence storage facility; additional automatic license plate recognition cameras; and the fourth year of the department wide $56 million radio replacement project.
"This budget reflects a strong commitment to improving public safety in our neighborhoods, and equipping our law enforcement with the tools and technology they need to successfully keep our neighborhoods safe," said Council President Andrea Campbell. "I am grateful to the Mayor for his continued investments in programs that serve our youth and that address neighborhood trauma, and for including funding for the body camera program."
Providing a continuum of follow-up support to ensure individuals and families who experience traumatic events have the support to recover and thrive, and providing support to individuals re-entering society after incarceration. Operation Night Light will continue with BPD Officers accompanying probation officers on home visits to probationers to offer support and connections to services. The state funded Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) focuses on young men most likely to be perpetrators or victims of shooting or stabbing violence. BPD works with the Boston Public Health Commission to coordinate transition services that support a continuum of street outreach and engagement, needs assessment and evaluation, intensive case management, behavioral health counseling, and employment and education services.
An additional investment of $284,000 will support Neighborhood Trauma Teams, bringing the total investment to $1,284,000. These teams offer immediate support to Boston residents in need, and ongoing access to trauma treatment. This investment will further strengthen the existing neighborhood trauma teams and one citywide mobile team, and finish forming an additional neighborhood team in Dorchester, announced last year, to provide greater community outreach and support. These investments, in conjunction with the $2.4 million BPS social and emotional wellness investment, will help ensure the city's youth have the supports to succeed.
"As a life-long resident of the City of Boston, I am thrilled with the Mayor's intentions to invest more financial, as well as city resources to strength public safety in the City of Boston," said Pastor Gerald at the Twelfth Baptist Church. "As a leading city in the nation we must remain vigilant and on the cutting edge on issues regarding public safety for all who work and live in Boston, a world class city!"
Public safety remains the top priority of the Walsh Administration, which is why in his first four years, Mayor Walsh has committed to violence prevention on the streets of Boston, outfitting the Boston Fire Department for the 21st century and investing in Boston's emergency response services to make them stronger and more effective than they've ever been.
Last week, Mayor Walsh announced continued investments in Boston's Emergency Medical Services to improve response times, including an additional ambulance dedicated to servicing residents of East Boston and the addition of 20 new EMTs who will begin by July.
In addition, the proposed FY19 budget and capital plan invests in six new fire trucks, bringing the total to 39 new trucks added to BFD over the past four years. Critical radios, dual capacity routers, and other equipment will be replaced and updated. As a national leader in reducing cancer risks amongst firefighters, BFD will continue the industrial cleaning of firehouses so ductwork, ceilings, and fabric furniture potentially holding cancerous compounds will be thoroughly cleaned to reduce risk amongst city firefighters. The City will make a $48 million investment to rebuild the firehouses of Engine 42 and 17, which will rank among the first firehouses in the nation to implement best safety, health and wellness practices in both design and programming.
The City's FY19 budget will formally be released on April 11, and residents are encouraged to visit budget.boston.gov at that time to find out more information about investments being made in their community.