Police details at construction sites are a sore topic in Massachusetts politics. (For those of you just joining us, "details" are a required, privately paid police presence at all road construction and utility sites. Almost no other states require these, and the cost is ultimately borne by the taxpayer/consumer.)
Even more arcane, outdated, useless, and wasteful is the fire detail
, which is required in the Boston area at a variety of events (link to Cambridge's regulations
Across the city line in Medford, Tufts University recently bought
the Sacred Heart Church and Rectory from the Archdiocese of Boston, helping the church pay off its dozens of abuse victims and fanning the anti-intellectual, anti-"expansionism" fears of blue collar Medford.*
Apparently Tufts is making the church into some type of convention center
. Its rectory was just torn down, which surprised me, and I passed by the demolition zone at about 6:30pm. Pacing around the rubble was a Medford fireman talking on his cell phone. A beat up old Medford Fire Crown Vic was parked across from the demolition equipment.
I suspected that this might be one of those strange fire details. So I returned on foot around 10:30pm to see if the firefighter was still guarding the ruins of the rectory, watching the jagged chunks of brick and plaster for a wisp of telltale smoke. The cruiser was still there and the scene dark. As I grew closer, I spied a weak white light coming from within the vehicle. The firefighter was reclining under the reading lamp with the driver's door slightly ajar, relaxing with a newspaper.
So the fire detail does exist, and in Medford, firefighters receive overtime pay to guard piles of rubble 24/7. Both satisfied and disappointed, I walked to Davis to take advantage of the weather. There I found that new pavement markings were being applied in the square. And the striping crews were being protected by cops and cruisers from Everett and Somerville.
Labels: medford, police details, somerville, waste