Controversial debate on whether Worcester police officers get salary bump for wearing body cams

WORCESTER, Mass. — Should Worcester police officers get a salary bump for wearing body cameras?

That was the hot topic during public comment at Worcester’s city council meeting Tuesday.

“I believe the wearing and usage of body cameras should be considered part of one’s patriotic duty and devotion to public service – one we should expect to come without cost to the community’s being served,” said Andrew Marsh during public comment.

A few people who spoke, including a teacher, question why the city can allocate more money to police officers but not other departments like education.

“With Worcester Public Schools so gravely underfunded, it’s not only shameful, it’s borderline immoral,” said Emily Galante, a teacher. “Worcester already grossly overfunds the police – invest in our schools instead.”

Worcester city leaders are deciding whether to adopt a salary ordinance for police officers after reaching an agreement with the police union.

This will allow each police officer within the union to get an annual stipend of $1,300 for wearing a body camera.

Some showed support for officers getting that extra stipend for the difficult work they do to keep the city safe.

“This represents to the professionals who provide the policing services to the city of Worcester one of the biggest changes in over 50 years in their work conditions,” one speaker said.

While others, like teachers, argue their jobs have changed significantly since the pandemic without an increase in pay.

“This change in working conditions came at no additional compensation,” said Galante. “To entertain the stipend of 1,300 dollars because of this change in working conditions for police officers would be shameful.”

The city council tabled this vote for another meeting so they could get more clarity on it.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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