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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why can't they do both?

Health warning: This blog is about to say something complimentary about MBTA boss Daniel Grabauskas. Those with weak hearts who might not be able to take the shock should turn away now. Guinness Book of World Records fans, take note.

Yes indeed, the embattled (at least with me) MBTA boss has it exactly right when he rejects the MBTA police union's insistence that they can't deal with gropers and fare jumpers at the same time.
"They have an oath to uphold, to enforce the law. And if they're not, they're in violation of their own code of honor."
The MBTA's Boys (and Girls) in Blue say the crackdown on fare evaders deters them from their real job of keeping the subways, buses and commuter rail free from sexual perverts. -- and terrorists.

And besides, transit police union boss Robert Marino says, this is about chump change.
"This is all over $1.75 or $2 as opposed to someone being sexually assaulted."
At least he knows the fare structure, as opposed to Mitt Romney.

On the one hand, it's not hard to understand. Police from various forces in Massachusetts see infractions like jaywalking, speeding, stop sign running as unimportant. And we don't want a city like Rudy Giuliani's New York where squeegee men are hauled off in cuffs from over enforcement.

But I suspect if someone were to delve into MBTA crime statistics they would find that fare evasion happens at a much higher rate than violent sexual assaults -- or even groping. I suspect they would also find that the crimes happen in different locations at different times of day.

In other words there are plenty of opportunities to pursue both perverts and deadbeats.

And for the argument that it's dangerous to approach fare jumpers while undercover, here's a suggestion: wear uniforms. That should reduce the volume of violations -- and lead to a reduction in tickets -- while protecting the officers. Especially if they are decked out in the full State Police uniform.

And as for Smilin' Dan, er, Mr. Grabauskas, let me just say a broken clock is correct twice a day. It was inevitable we would agree on something eventually.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are there in uniform. Except.... at DownTown Crossing they are almost always standing far from the platforms and the turnstyle area. Instead, they stand in a circle sipping DD's and chatting about the Sox. I pass 3 or 4 of them almost daily. Hardly ever saw one so much as glance at a passing rider or loiterer.

June 02, 2008 10:46 PM  

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