Police In Massachusetts Town Seek Extra Pay For Computer Skills

The Police Officers Union in Framingham is seeking a $476-plus annual computer use payment for officers.
It's not exactly hazardous duty pay, but police officers in some Massachusetts towns are getting extra pay for using computers on the job.

Natick and Newton already pay an extra stipend to patrolmen for computer use, but an effort by the Police Officers Union in neighboring Framingham to get a $476-plus annual computer use payment has run into a stone wall after the proposal was recently rejected by Town Meeting members.

"This is absolutely insane," said Town Meeting member Jim Rizoli, according to the Boston Globe. "I think we should send a message here. I think we should say no."

Another Town Meeting member suggested tongue in cheek that crayons could be substituted for computers.

The union has argued that the town utilized an "unlawful unilateral change of a preexisting practice" when it required reports to be filed via computer rather than by pen and paper. The issue is also before Massachusetts state agencies petitioned to settle the matter.

Framingham's police chief noted that there is something of a precedent for technology use, because the town pays an extra stipend for the use of defibrillators, fingerprinting, and photography.

In adjacent Natick, officials said the computer payment equals about 2% of officers' base pay and is in recognition of officers' advanced technological skills used in some advanced police statistical programs.

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