For the past several months, the Pioneer Institute and MuckRock have been gathering figures of police salary and overtime pay across Massachusetts. While most departments have been accommodating and helpful in acquiring this data on how law enforcement allocate their tax-funded budgets, the City Solicitor of Somerville insists that routine documents will cost a small fortune to release to the public. Beginning in July, Pioneer and MuckRock first began requesting budget data from police departments in the twenty largest cities and towns across Massachusetts. Specifically, we’re gathering figures on officer pay for the past two fiscal years, including both overtime and salary payments. This is an incredibly routine request, and the majority of departments have treated it as such. Four, […]
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Despite repeated appeals to reason and official state guidance, the Watertown Police Department stubbornly refuses to step into 2013 and accept electronic public records requests. Nor, apparently, will the department’s records chief even respond to electronic requests to direct their resubmission in another form. The citizens of Watertown and of the entire Commonwealth deserve access to their public documents by means that are both straightforward and which entail minimal difficulty. In the 21st century, that means being able to request records electronically. Having submitted five records requests since May to the Watertown police records unit – including one on behalf of the Pioneer Institute – without receiving any reply, MuckRock sent a direct message to the department on September 18 to […]