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January 9, 2014

Policeto track officers with GPS

Follows lead of Boston, Lowell; Methuen also looking to add GPS to cruisers

(Continued)

Metheun police Chief Joseph Solomon confirmed GPS technology is likely coming to the department soon.

“We have discussed it in the past and it’s something we’re looking to in the future,” Solomon said, adding the city may look to do it outside the police contract.

Fiorentini said the primary purpose for installing GPS in Haverhill police cruisers is to improve public safety and officer response times. He noted, however, there is nothing in the new police contract that limits how the technology can be used.

GPS technology is not new to Haverhill. The city put GPS devices in highway department trucks and other public works vehicles several years ago following a high-profile scandal in which workers were caught doing private jobs on city time.

Since its use in the highway department, Fiorentini said he is unaware of a single incident in which GPS has been used to discipline a worker. To the contrary, he said there have been instances when the technology has been used to exonerate a worker.

“We’ve had occasions when someone called to say a worker didn’t plow a street or wasn’t were he was supposed to be,” the mayor said. “But because of GPS we were able to check, and in each case the worker was where he was supposed to be.”

Haverhill’s new police contract, which goes back to July 1, 2012 and expires June 30, 2014, includes a three percent pay raise for officers over the two-year span.

The deal also includes new language giving the city the ability to have police officers out of work on sick and injury leave to be checked out by a city doctor, and to have officers return to work on light duty before returning to their regular assignments. In exchange for that provision, the city agreed to pay each officer $300 per year in perpetuity, according to the contract.

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