Letters to the Editor

City of Chelsea Emergency 911 Dispatchers

On February 03, 2016 the City of Chelsea firefighters, police and EMS battled a four-alarm fire on Eleanor Street. A 3-year-old boy was rescued from the blaze that badly damaged more than 20 apartments and injured two firefighters, according to officials.Red Cross assisted the residents and estimated that up to 100 people were displaced.

It was immediately acknowledged that the Dispatcher’s performance, all members of Teamsters Local Union No. 25, was exceptional during this four-alarm fire emergency. The responsibilities of the Dispatchers involved dispatching apparatus to the scene, followed by many evolutions of three additional alarms which included extensive coordinating for coverage from surrounding communities. During this time, the Dispatchers worked seamlessly between this incident and other 911-related calls.

Chelsea’s 911 Dispatchers demonstrated extreme effectiveness and efficiency regarding dispatch operations, radio discipline communications, following explicit orders from the scene of the fire, dispatching according to protocol and applied all specific knowledge of the City. In a fire, seconds not minutes are often the difference between life and death, and any lag in service could have resulted in a tragedy.

Chelsea’s 911 Dispatchers are the “First, First Responders” to all Public Safety situations. They are the sometimes forgotten heroes working diligently behind the scenes on all public safety emergencies. The Dispatchers are the first and primary handlers of all calls for services of all types.

These proud members of Teamsters Local Union No. 25 clearly demonstrated their commitment to serving Chelsea residents and keeping them and the first responders safe at all costs. Residents should know that these men and women are there for them.

On behalf of the 11,000 members of Teamsters Local Union No. 25, I would like to publicly recognize and thank Chelsea’s 911 Emergency Dispatchers for their exceptional professionalism and their continuous dedication to the City of Chelsea each and every day.

Sean M. O’Brien

President/Principal Officer

Teamsters Local Union No. 25



(The following letter was sent to the Chelsea City Council and to the Record for publication from former City Councillor Clifford Cunningham)

Look at the facts

Honorable members of the Chelsea City Council,

I am writing to you in regards to the proposed residency requirement for public safety employees, introduced by Councilor Recupero, in the hopes of countering some of the inaccurate information proponents of the order have used to persuade the rest of the Council and the residents of Chelsea at-large to support it.

The issue in question is one I am quite familiar with, as during my four years on the City Council a residency requirement for public safety employees came before the Council, in one form or another, no less than 13 times. Each variation was rejected by a majority of the Council because, when one delves deep enough into the arguments made by proponents of the order, it becomes clear those arguments are not based in either fact or reality.

One of the chief arguments made by those in favor of having police officers live in Chelsea is that it will reduce crime. When asked to provide evidence of such a claim, however, none was ever provided. There is, in fact, absolutely no evidence to support the claim that having a police officer live on a particular street will stop criminal activity in that area. A police officer does not have the ability to mentally detect criminal activity while in their home and respond accordingly.

Another argument made by those in favor, and the one made in last week’s editorial, involves “bringing money back to our city.” This idea is premised on the notion that police officers and firefighters who are compelled to live in Chelsea will spend all of their money here, an argument impossible to mandate or prove. We do not live in a totalitarian society where people are told where they can and can not shop for food, clothes, etc. If a police officer decides to shop at Market Basket in Revere or Whole Foods in Charlestown, will they be punished or ostracized? Ultimately, does any of us who live in this city spend all our money in it and none of it out? Quite frankly, you couldn’t do it if you tried. As the home of no utilities, these payments leave the city, as do those for heath insurance and car insurance among too many others to mention in a city of this size.

And while I’m all for building a middle class in Chelsea (and the rest of the nation, for that matter), based on the average rate-of-hire and retirement rates for police officers and firefighters, there would be around 4 or 5 new police officers and the same firefighters required to live Chelsea for first 5 years after hire under the proposed ordinance. The idea that approximately 10 or so people per year will be enough to create a solid and thriving middle-class in Chelsea is utterly absurd and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economic policy. And it’s important to not forget that nearly 25 percent of current firefighters live in Chelsea as do 40 percent of currently employed police officers with no mandate or ordinance. Is there really a need to make 5 more?

As the main arguments are easily refuted by fact and common sense, it’s clear that the root cause behind the push for a residency requirement is the notion that public safety employees, primarily police officers, do not care as much as they should for our city and its residents and those who live here care more than those who don’t. I, and more so they, should be insulted by this sentiment. I stand firmly behind Chief Kyes and the men and women of the Chelsea Police Department tasked with policing a community with the socioeconomic issues that make the job a difficult one. I commend the Police Department for the job they do when they are doing it and care not where they go home to as long as they return to work the next day and again give it 100 percent.

Imposing a residency requirement because of some Councilor’s personal vendetta over differences of policing strategy with the Police Chief is, I believe, a misguided effort better spent towards things that actually make residents safer. I urge the City Council to look at the facts (or lack thereof, in this case) and vote against the proposed residency requirement that is nether needed nor effective.

Clifford Cunningham

Washington Avenue


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