Turnpike toll takers’ guns collected

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hacon1, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. hacon1

    hacon1 Monkey+++

    Turnpike toll takers’ guns collected
    Boss nixes old policy, but union vows fight

    By Casey Ross | Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Coverage

    Photo by Stuart Cahill
    Gun-toting toll collectors have been stripped of their sidearms by Mass Pike brass after secretly carrying them for decades without formal training, the Herald has learned.

    “I didn’t want to have a wild west show out there,” said Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Executive Director Alan LeBovidge, who ordered the practice stopped. “I could find nothing to show that the employees had state police training that would make them qualified to carry guns.”

    But union officials said they are going to fight to allow the toll collectors to keep their weapons, even though a Pike review found the guns were not being properly maintained, with firing pins misaligned and other problems.

    LeBovidge said he forced 16 Turnpike toll collectors and couriers to turn in their firearms after finding that the only instruction they received was target practice at a private firing range in Dorchester. He said the employees were carrying .38-caliber handguns to protect themselves while transporting cash from toll booths to a central holding facility.

    Pike managers said they are facing resistance from union leaders. One Pike official said the authority’s primary union, Local 127, has filed a grievance to fight LeBovidge’s decision. Union head Robert Cullinane did not return a phone call seeking comment.

    “It’s absurd,” said state Sen. Steve Baddour (D-Methuen). “The last time I saw a toll taker carrying a gun was when Sonny got blown away in ‘The Godfather.’ ”

    Pike officials said state police have been tapped to transport the toll money while the authority’s policy is being reviewed. The guns were issued by the Turnpike Authority to employees who carried them in holsters while driving along the highway.

    State Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) called the old practice “frightening.”

    “It’s insane,” he said. "It’s a tremendous liability, and it’s another symptom of a much more insidious disease at the Pike. This kind of stuff would never exist at a transparent state agency.”

    At least one Republican lawmaker said he is not troubled by the practice. “I think they should have the proper training, but I don’t have an issue with them carrying guns,” said state Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth). “If they’ve taken the training to get their firearms license, then it’s not a big deal.”

    LeBovidge said all the employees had proper identification cards and licenses to carry guns, but he said he was concerned by the lack of formal police training.

    “It surprised me they didn’t have the right situational training to handle an actual incident,” he said. “You may have a license, but what do you do if you’re robbed? I was concerned about their safety and the public’s safety.”

    Officials said the policy of arming Pike couriers to carry guns goes back decades, but that toll collectors were only tapped to do the job in recent years.

    “To me, it was not a good situation all around,” LeBovidge said.

    Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/reg...icleid=1076234<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Somebody ratted them out. And after traveling that road entirely too often, day and night, I can see why the toll guys wanted them.
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    A - It wasn't a "wild west show" all these years they've been carrying

    B- You don't have to have "state police training" to be qualified

    C- I'm sick of these dipshits
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