Monday, February 8, 2010

Boston Police Officer Justin Barrett Finally Fired [Updated]

Boston Police Officer Justin Barrett (CNN)
Despite proving to the entire country that he was not mature enough to be a police officer back in late July of last year, the Boston Police Department has just gotten around to letting ex-Officer Justin "Jungle Monkey" Barrett go. After what they called a "thorough" investigation, BPD announced last week that Barrett was terminated, effective February 5.

What is insulting is that Barrett has been paid this entire time while awaiting his fate. If, as Police Commissioner Ed Davis says, "The Boston Police Department is committed to a standard of excellence," and ex-Officer Barrett's actions were of such an "egregious nature," then why did Massachusetts tax dollars continue finding their way into Justin Barrett's bank account? Why the "thorough" investigation, when it was already clear that the email came from Barrett and he even went on national television to apologize for sending it?

Do me a favor: re-read the email and try to justify keeping Barrett on the force. It's impossible. Now, to add insult to injury, keep in mind that Barrett continued to be paid up to his termination date. Clearly the Boston Police Department was embarrassed by this because they decided to make the announcement of Barrett's termination at 3:13 pm, ensuring that it would not make the local news wires until around 5:00 pm on a Friday. That leaves a few days for other news stories to surface and eclipse this one in relevance by the time the local morning news shows fire up on Monday morning.

At the end of the day, it was painfully obvious by his e-mail that Barrett was not qualified to be given a badge and a gun to serve and to protect the people of Boston. The fact that it took the BPD almost half a year to figure this out, while continuing to pay Barrett, is concerning. Will Barrett be getting any pension or benefits from the department or will he have to pay back any of his money to the taxpayers? An e-mail into the Boston Police Department media relations has not been answered. It took too long, and cost the taxpayers way too much, but at the very least Justin Barrett is no longer a Boston Police Officer.

[UPDATE]: The Boston Police Department responded to my query about Barrett's benefits and whether he will have to pay back any of the taxpayer-funded salary he received while waiting nearly half a year to be fired. The answer to both is no. So just so the people of Boston and Massachusetts know how much they're paying Barrett, let's go over the numbers. In 2008 Barrett made $78,991.04. Let's say his base salary last year was $55,000, just a hair over his 2008 base salary. Barrett was suspended at the end of July, so we'll say that 152+36 (31 in January 2010 + 5 in February 2010) / 365 = 0.42 years. 0.42 x yearly salary of $55,000 = $23,100 paid to Barrett during this "investigation" to get rid of Barrett (and this is a conservative calculation, because we're not counting benefits). In a year in which the state faces a $2.75 billion budget gap, to pay an individual like Barrett with tax monies for six months after he embarrasses the BPD and himself is a slap in the face.

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