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Well everyone, it is that time of year again! The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has published its annual list of the highest paid employees in the City of Worcester and, as usual, there are more cops on the list than Watertown in April! Oh, too soon? Sorry. There are more cops here than a spring get together in Amherst!
As a result of local hooligans brawling with youngsters during the St. Patty’s day parade, too much fighting in airborne-gonorrhea factories with sleazy-looking white DJs local clubs, and the need to protect the Queen of Patriotism Jennifer Marchand from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s decomposing corpse, a whopping 86 of the top 100 highest-paid city employees work for the Worcester Police Department.
While I have many friends and family members on the WPD and I am not about to tell them how to run their department, wouldn’t the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief be best advised to ensure that their salaries are lower than that of the City Manager? Might it raise a few red flags when police officers are making more money than their bosses in city government? Now I am not a card-carrying member of the Tea Party and, as a result, I believe that government employees should be able to earn more than a coal miner did in 1931. But Chief Gemme, what the hell are you thinking here? You know there is a target on your chest and you know that people are just dying for a reason to call for your head and to jump on any reason to hate the WPD.
We all know that the cops make a very convenient group to hate. People despise speeding tickets and loathe coming across a police officer who enjoys his power a little too much. The media loves nothing more than to publicize a case of police brutality and the paranoid black helicopter crowd will turn any picture of a cop in tactical gear into definitive proof that the fascists are coming.
Liberals hate cops because they see them as infringing on the rights of minorities and conservatives hate cops because they don’t want their tax dollars supporting a group that writes tickets and enforces gun laws. Women hate cops because they were probably dumped by one, and men hate cops because their wife likely slept with one.
Are there unethical cops? Sure, just like there are unethical teachers, politicians, lawyers, bankers, priests, professional athletes, musicians, and farmers, there are cops who do not belong in that position. However, the power that comes along with being a police officer puts them in a unique position in that it requires very little cause to turn the public against them.
I can say personally that I have had very positive experiences with the Worcester Police (other than those three or four dozen occasions when they took our beer). I have had my life saved when an officer threw my drunk ass in a cab rather than letting me walk nine miles home on a wintry night and I know them to be a group that does their job well but not overzealously. When you see some clown on Water Street or Park Ave being thrown into a cruiser, you can be pretty damn sure they got five or six chances before that happened.
But all of those positive experiences generally take a backseat when we see a cop guarding a parking lot or working a traffic detail on a residential dead end street. Fair or not, that is what your officers are up against, Chief Gemme, and allowing yourself to be the highest paid city employee in Worcester will not help your department’s public perception. Any anger directed at you about this is warranted and is part of the job for which you signed up. Your officers, however, did not have the opportunity to choose their boss and his accompanying financial dumbassery, but they will be the ones who have to hear the criticism.
Police corruption happens, and when it does, it is serious. I happen to know of one incident a few years back that was a pure conspiracy on the part of the police overtime-industrial complex to ensure more police overtime. A “jogger” who just happened to be a
hired goon working for the police union police officer just happened to be in the woods illegally poaching raccoons to make hats urinating when he planted “stumbled upon” a skull. Before they realized that it was simply another victim of the Main South Prostitute Slayer, thousands of off-duty police officers descended upon the area cashing in on overtime as they swam naked in the reservoir with recent Wachusett graduates searched for clues as to who could possibly have been responsible for this heinous crime.
Meanwhile, I recall seeing these very same cops in the following months driving around in convertibles full of scantily-clad women, going to Zumba class in Kennebunk, playing baccarat at the casino with thousand dollar bills, and going big game hunting for zebras in Africa. The nameless “police officer” who found the skull was never named and it is safe to assume that he quickly jumped on a plane to Turkmenistan, never to be seen again.
While incidents like this are rare, they do show the dangers of police overtime. After approximately 127,452 man-hours of police overtime it was determined that the skull was stolen from a science class at Chandler Magnet School, but the damage was done by that point. Thousands of officers got rich, and the good people of Worcester and Holden had to pay the bill. This is the danger of police overtime, and it is part of the problem that is being perpetuated by Chief Gemme and his support of the overtime-industrial complex. We understand that Jennifer Marchand and the other Fox News Patriots need protection from Uncle Ruslan and his dead idiot nephews and that we need to prevent all of the rowdydowns that break out on St. Patty’s day, but please Chief, go to HR and take yourself down a notch or two on the pay list.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.