Coletta Zapata Seeks To Hire More Officers

Special to the Times-Free Press

Boston City Councilor Gabriela Coletta Zapata introduced a Home Rule Petition to raise the maximum age requirements for entrance to the Boston Police Academy. Coletta Zapata’s petition would raise the current maximum from forty (40) years of age to forty-five (45) years of age. Co-sponsors include Councilor At-Large Henry Santana and Councilor Enrique Pepen (District 5) of Hyde Park.

“Boston is lucky to have willing and able individuals who want to become police officers but don’t meet the age qualification,” said Coletta Zapata. “They are deserving of a chance even if they are over the current maximum age requirement,” said Coletta Zapata. “This is a crucial measure to help fill personnel shortages in the Boston Police Department, reduce overtime spending, and decrease police officer burnout due to limited precinct capacities. I look forward to conversation and working collaboratively with my colleagues.” 

The current process to gain consideration to the Boston Police Academy if an individual over the maximum age requirement is such that the individual must petition through a special law both the City Council and then the State Legislature. The Boston City Council had five petitions in the first six months of the 2024 legislative session. In 2007, then Councilor Michael Flaherty sponsored a similar home rule petition to increase the maximum age requirement in an effort to fill personnel shortages. The measure was ultimately passed by the Council and Legislature.

“Boston Police Officers have to exercise integrity, maturity, judgment, discipline, and physical fitness every day in their roles. No age group has a monopoly on these traits that are critical for the job. This change allows for individuals with years of diverse experiences to join the BPD, combating recruitment challenges and ensuring our department remains committed to improving our city.” said Councilor Enrique Pepen (District 5).

“We need more police officers in Boston, and the Police Academy and Police Department both have appropriately rigorous requirements — there’s no reason to block qualified applicants just because they’ve celebrated a few extra birthdays,” said Councilor At-Large Henry Santana and Chair of the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. “Officer shortages force our police to work too many hours, and we spend more on overtime and get less public safety services, so this is a fiscally responsible opportunity too.”

This docket was referred to the Committee on Government Operations chaired by Councilor Gabriela Coletta Zapata (District 1) of East Boston. A hearing will be scheduled in the upcoming months.

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