UPDATED | McCrea: City should do away with police details

Mayoral hopeful Kevin McCrea on Tuesday said the city should dump police details at road construction sites.

"I want to concentrate the police on doing police work," he told the Reporter.

Construction site oversight should be left to civilian flaggers, he said.

Gov. Deval Patrick's administration created rules last year that placed flaggers at construction sites run by the state. Cities and towns can decide on their own.

Government watchdog groups had been pressing for the change for years, saying police details are a waste of taxpayer money. But opponents of the change say the presence of a police officer increases safety.

At a hearing last year, most city and union officials, including mayoral candidate and City Councillor At-Large Sam Yoon, came down against the change, deeming it was unnecessary.

Since then, questions have been raised about the cost savings and effectiveness drawn from switching to flaggers.

UPDATE: Universal Hub has more from his release that he sent out this afternoon: "If I am elected Mayor, I will stop the practice of requiring police officers to handle non-crucial detail work. Instead, I will hire and train Boston residents in accordance with the Boston Jobs Policy (at least 10% women and at least 25% minorities) to do this work. I would also like to make this work available to Police Cadets who have passed through the Police Academy but can't be hired as police officers until positions become available.

The benefits of this are many. We allow police officers to be at their best for their important job of public safety. We help to lower the unemployment rate in Boston by hiring residents to fill these jobs. We lower taxes for Boston residents by lowering the costs of construction to our roads, bridges and buildings in the City of Boston. This can help lower the cost of building housing as well."