Traffic Enforcement Leads to Testy Medford Council Exchange

Councilor Marks, Officer MacGilvray argue over Medford traffic enforcement figures.

Comments by Medford City Councilor Michael Marks about city enforcement of traffic of violations drew the ire of a Medford Police officer, who engaged in a fiery exchange with Marks at Tuesday's council meeting.

Marks brought up a recent WBZ I-Team report that highlighted the cities and towns where Massachusetts residents may be most likely to get a moving violation.

Both in terms of total moving violations and violations per capita, Medford ranked dead last of over 30 municipalities surveyed by WBZ. While Brookline was tops 26,202 moving violations, Medford had just 631 during the same time period.

"I was quite appalled to find out...Medford was the very last community on the list," Marks said.

He quoted Brookline Police Chief Daniel O'Leary, who was interviewed in the WBZ report, as saying the heightened traffic enforcement acts as an overall crime deterrent for the city.

"It would act to calm down traffic and add to pedestrian safety and it would also act as a deterrent to potential crime," Marks said of Medford possibly following Brookline's path. "It's a win-win situation."

Marks also said the city is losing out on additional revenue by not providing more traffic enforcement.

"The directive has to come from the top," Marks said. "We have two people in our traffic enforcement division, a sergeant and an officer. Unless they are working seven days a week, 24 hours a day, we're not providing safe streets. It's impossible."

Marks wanted a response from Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr., on WBZ's report.

"I think he should be answering to this report," Marks said.

Medford Officer Harold MacGilvray approached the council following Marks' remarks to challenge his assertions. MacGilvray, speaking on behalf of the Medford Police Patrolman's Association, took issue with how Marks, and the council, were hammering the department.

"There is not another department in this city that absorbs the kinds of blows that the Medford Police Department absorbs from this council," MacGilvray said. "It is unbelievable. It's a common theme here that we aren't doing our jobs."

MacGilvray asked Marks if he knew how many patrol cars are on the streets of Brookline and Medford on normal day shifts. MacGilvray said Brookline utilizes 15 while Medford uses six.

"You said the streets aren't safe," MacGilvray said. "That's a shot at us."

"You better believe I believe they're not safe," Marks said, although when pressed by MacGilvray for specific statistics to back up that claim, Marks could not provide them.

"I'm tired of the constant shots at the Medford Police Department," MacGilvray said. "We do our job. We do a tremendous job with what little resources we have."

Marks said many times he was not intentionally taking shots at the department and apologized to MacGilvray if what he was saying was being perceived that way.

"I'm sorry your feelings were hurt," Marks said. "I'm not here to represent you or your union. I'm here to represent the people of this community. And if I feel there's a concern, I'm going to raise it, whether you like it or not."

Council President Robert Maiocco didn't want MacGilvray to believe the council doesn't think Medford Police aren't doing their job.

"Personally, I feel safe in my neighborhood," Maiocco said.

Councilor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said the council doesn't believe the department has enough manpower and it's up to Mayor Michael J. McGlynn to "step up" with a plan to change that.

"The Medford Police Department is always there to respond to needs of this community," said Councilor Paul Camuso. "Enforcement is always an issue, but the men and women, we can stand by them whether we have philosophical differences or not."

raymay February 07, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Dead last? Not a surprise. Traffic enforcement is nil. Would love to have the city budget cracked open so we can all see where our money goes.
William S February 07, 2013 at 05:25 PM
I can tell you it doesn't go to the police department. That policeman is correct and shame on Marks for not knowing the facts and using public safety as a place to grandstand for his political career.
William S February 07, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Does Mr Marks know traffic enforcement is for public safety and not revenue? Probabally not.
stevieB February 07, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I agree William S...officer Mcgilvary is right. The city wants traffic enforcement, they want arrests, they want community policing but they continue to deplete our local department. Notice to the residents of Medford, this is not a safe city like Wellesley. There is a influx of people the last decade that have changed Medford and not for the better. Look at the police log and see all the house and car breaks, see all the drug arrests. Yet the city continues to shortchange our police department and the safety of its residents. The city council needs to approve a new DPW, a new police station and revamp and re-energize the disgrace called Medford square. One issue I do have with the police though is that they shouldn't congregate at dunkin donuts for extended periods of time. I have witnessed this on many occasions and if you are saying you don't write tickets because you are short handed then your stance loses merit when people see four police officers lounging for an hour at dunkin donuts instead of enforcing traffic laws. Other than that I think the Mpd does a very effective job
Alexa Mase February 07, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Brookline has a huge tax-base- not comparable to Medford's.
pete perkins February 07, 2013 at 08:15 PM
How about the city doesn't allow as many cops to be paid to stand around on details that are generally useless to public safety -- and have them out doing actual police work!
Matt W February 07, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Sit one cruiser on the corner of Fourth & Bradbury any morning Moday thru Friday from 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM and you can easily double average number of tickets written..
de February 07, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I agree Medford pd. Is under staffed, they do a great job with what they have. I also agree that 4 cruisers at D&d at riverside ave at 8am is ridiculous when they can be helping with crossing issues. Also when you call the sgt in the traffic division you don't get called back.
jay f February 07, 2013 at 09:16 PM
I have seen over the past week( Somerville police) SUV police cars in Somerville on Mystic Ave watching the traffic. We need more police presents which will deter crimes. I'm not surprised Medford was at the bottom of the list. Remember the police write ticket but the mayor fixes 9 out of 10 that they write. It's a known fact.
Giovana Ferreira February 08, 2013 at 12:28 AM
I agree with William S. I live on Fellsway West and I gave seen officers working hard around this area. They are always around and taking care of problems when needed. About being at DD in the morning, it's not up to me to decide when ir if they are on or off duty. You don't compare cities thinking only about tickets revenue. I still believe Medford is a safe city.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I agree, let's at least put the last years budget on line so everyone can see what is being spent - where?
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:32 AM
I disagree, Marks and some of the other councilors are the ones who got the inspection of the building done in the first place. Yes, as a body, the council has blocked progress, but ultimately it is the mayor that must be pressured into calling the shot to hire more officers and build a new facility. The people - like yourselves need to call the mayor's office and show up at his door with enough people to show him that it needs to happen.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:33 AM
You must not have watched the council meeting, that's what he was saying. So, yes - he did.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:43 AM
stevieB, Yes, crime is up from 10 years ago, all the more reason we need to reassess our whole security system. We need to increase base pay, stop burning the officers out on details, and increase their numbers. We are complicit in burning them out by taking a 15% fee from all of the private details they do. We need to hold liquor/grocery stores accountable for providing their own security. We need to use our cops for policing in. The council as a whole is blocking progress by not banning together to pressure the Mayor, but neither are we the people. The police work for us and so does the mayor. Call the mayor, he has the power to hire. The council will allocate money for more officers if the mayor calls for them. Plan A gives this mayor all the authority. Have you called Mr. McGlynn today.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Let's put our budget on line (at least last years). It is public information. Let's see where everything is going. Base pay is not high for officers, they depend on over-time or private details. We need to increase their base pay and do away with private details. Police officers have to cope with people so we don't have too. Without law and order we would have kaos and anarchy. It is the government primary function to maintain order. If taxes must go up for this, than so be it. We need 20 more cops. We already make money off of them - it's called 15% of their private duty detail.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:53 AM
I agree, the time has come to have paid, flag people and not police officers for this duty. We hire crossing gaurds for school children, why not flag people for street repair. While I am a proponent of flaggers, we have to increase the number of police officers and base pay. Our base pay for police officers is not much for the 24/7 obligation and burn out factor. We need to pay them more so they won't argue in negotiations for private details. We also get a 15% kick back for their labor in private details. We must stop this practice. Call the Mayor and demand change.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Wellington Circle is a great place to start. MacGilvry and other police officers want to do their jobs, but their hands are tied by the Mayor and Council as a whole. The Council has power as a body but they will not use it against our Mayor. This problem starts with him. Have you joined with your neighbors and showed up at his door. Demand that the budget be put on line (at least last years) and demand more cops and better base pay for them. MacGilvry's hands are tied (as are the other patrolmen/women). Demand the Chief push harder too. He may need to put his job on the line. I bet if he did the troops would respect him for it.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 03:04 AM
There is no doubt that policies and procedures within the Department need to be thoroughly reviewed and updated for the New City Medford has turned into. I too, often see 4 cruisers at the Commercial Street D & D, but we can't ask them to change until we change. We take the police for granted. They are working out of a dump, so they are demoralized. I get it. Let's give them a up to date facility, better pay - and I will be the first in line to demand higher performance from them. But guess what, most of them will be happy to do their jobs - enforcing the law. That is their job. To enforce the law, not private security. We benefit from their labor. These kick backs have got to stop.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 03:10 AM
The only way we are going to have more enforcement (and we need it) is to get on the Mayor to hire more officers, allow them to do their jobs (without fixing tickets after they have been handed out - how demoralizing that must be to the cop), increase their base pay, and get them off the addiction of private duty details to make up for the poor pay. What is even more important to these guys doesn't even cost money - it's called respect. Yes, policies and procedures need and overhaul. Oversight is needed but the public needs to sit down and go over these issues in a productive manner with the police department.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 03:14 AM
While it is not the primary purpose, revenue is a factor. This city is going broke. We are going to be borrowing again for the police/fire building, DPW building. We are going to have to pay for some kind of security in our schools. We keep building housing, more population. Taxes can only go up two and a half percent each year. Revenue has to come from somewhere. Moving violations is a great way to have police working and revenue coming in.
stevieB February 08, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Jeanne..your stuck on raising the base pay...guess what? It will never happen. If the mayor did then he'dhave to do similar raises for teachers and firemen. It's not happening. As for flaggers, massachusetts has the prevai wage law. Taxpayers would pay more for a flagger when you factor in benefits. Also, no one would listen to a flagger. Goodidea but its massachusetts. The union rules prevail. So don't waste your breathe. As for calling mayor, funny funny, one he don't care and two he's not taking call.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Hi stevieB, so what you're saying is that the people are powerless to do anything. I can't believe that stevieB. We twice pushed back the most powerful empire on the planet (1777 and in 1812). We let them know we weren't going to take it anymore. We also had successful social movements like suffrage and Mother's Against Drunk Driving. We have changed our condition over and over again throughout history. We make our future, we the people. It is time we change the way we do business in Medford and our local government more efficient. Why a flagger could be a part-time position is beyond me. The school crossing guards don't receive health insurance do they? To pay a police officer to stand for a four hour shift and pay him/her 40-60 dollars is not a good use of tax-payer money, even if they are not paid by us they burn out with all the details. And if someone disobeys a flagger we should have that person prosecuted for endangering lives. The mayor lets our citizens do as they please, we are a nation of laws. I appreciate your comments because I can always learn from others. If we had traffic calming approaches and ticketing for more moving violations maybe our citizens would take flaggers seriously. Flaggers should be a part-time job. The police want these details because their base pay is so low. We need our police for higher level skills. It is not cost effective to burn them out this way. Respectfully, Jeanne Martin
de February 08, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Everyone(not you people) blames the chief when actually mayor mcglynn is responsible. He hires the recruits etc. Medford pd is down 15 or so police officers in the past 10 years and aren't replaced . The have a crossing guard at the mcglynn elementary who is useless.
Jeanne Martin February 08, 2013 at 11:30 PM
de, You are correct that ultimately the Mayor is accountable as our "commander in chief" if you will. And if the Mayor valued our police department and personnel he would hire 20 more cops asap. However de, with all due respect the Chief is also the person in charge of his people and the building they work in. Speaking of that, Chief Gillberti is also accountable as the police and fire building are locked together on our Main Street sight. Both Chiefs have accepted this as "business as usual". Chief Sacco has asked, pleaded, and begged for the changes but will not demand the new building on behalf of his people. Yes, he may get fired, and yes maybe another yes man would be hired, but maybe not. Maybe it could be the impetus for change. The patrolman stated Tuesday that it looks like they are not getting a new building. How in this day an age can you say that crime looks the same as 1962, Mayberry RFD. This mayor has this Chief scared of replacement. He is allowing his people to work in that building. If it wasn't for some of the councilors who put a spot light on it, we still wouldn't know how bad it is. Respectfully, Jeanne Martin
Matt February 09, 2013 at 07:42 PM
To be fair, it's a little bit of a catch 22. The reason a lot of people choose to live in Medford and not Wellesley is because they can afford the homes and the taxes. If we want Medford's services to be like Wellesley's, then certainly taxes will rise. People who can't (or don't want to) afford those taxes will move out, and those houses will be sold, property values will go way up, so taxes will go up even more, and a lot of Medford's residents will be financially forced out.
Jeanne Martin February 10, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Matt, I hope the Mayor hears you. Our taxes have been kept low because we haven't done proper maintenance on our city's buildings and streets. The city taxes are going up, there is no two ways about it. What can be and should be mitigated is by how much. Our Mayor wants to impress the new young urban professionals, the people at the State House and Boston. He does this with his eye candy projects, the garage, Brooks Estate, and Water Taxi. Yet he can't fix the double pole problem. To the new yuppies coming in to Medford, please don't let the mayor pull the wool over your eyes. Maybe you don't care, but your kids will. It is your kids money you'll be spending. Should you play along with the mayor and get your candy today, tomorrow you will be asked to pay for the infrastructure when it costs a lot more than it would now. So, if you want to turn Medford into Wellsley - go for it, we know the Mayor listens to you. But when your pushed out of Medford for high taxes when your in your 60's and have lost your job, don't come crying to me. Yuppies, don't bite from the apple. Think smart and if you can't think smart - think about what you are strapping your own kids with. Respectfully, Jeanne Martin
U Sam February 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Good for you officer. I just wish you had some sane supporters. Why is it everyone is such an authority on policing? It seems it is the only career everyone could do better but doesn't do. Why is that?
Frank Mulligan February 11, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Folks Please keep one thing in MIND for as long as Michael Mc Glynn is in OFFICE. The city will remain the same. The city council is supporting you tax PAYERS 105 %. Not Mc Glynn. Good Luck to the Police.
Frank Mulligan February 11, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Folks If you saw the CONDITION the police station is in. It would tell you why, I say get RID of Mc Glynn. It's a SHAME the POLICE halfta work in. The Buifing inspector shoul SHUT IT DOWN.
benti55 February 15, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Kept our taxes low? Mine have doubled since I got my house. The police are in a building that should be condemned. It is a disgrace that people paid to protect us have to work in those conditions. As for F Mulligans comment, yes it will stay the same as long as McGlynn is in office.He is the one who costs our city $. We have a curb to curb ordinance for utilities that dig up streets. Does he enforce that , no the streets are patched. That cost us money. When they dug at Medford Sq. they dug up brick crosswalks that we paid for, and replace it with macadam. We cannot afford to keep cutting police and expect them to do more. Just keeping up with drugs in this community, especially Salem St., requires a whole police Dept.


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