By William Tauro
Meet this week’s “Special Person of the Week: Joe Voutour
Joseph Voutour was born and raised in Somerville on Willow Avenue. He attended Somerville Trade High School and graduated with Valedictorian Recognition in the Electrical Career Field (1973) He pursued his career and received his Journeyman’s & Master’s License, along with a teaching Certificate. In 1974 he joined the US Air Force, did his four years active duty, and served in the Reserves for another sixteen years, retiring with many medals, awards & decorations. His job in the Air Force was in the electrical field.
Joseph began his Somerville Employment Career as an Auxiliary Police Officer in 1978. In 1981 he was appointed to the Somerville Police Force, a job that he loved and and still does to this day. In 1988 he was involved in a very tragic fatal police shooting inside the Somerville Police Station. All levels of the government that investigated this shooting, cleared him of any wrong doing, and infact he was the recipient of numerous awards and decorations including the departments highest award, the Medal of Honor. Joe was also decorated with awards and citations in the Governors Office (Mike Dukakis), and the Massachusetts State House of Representatives (Alderman Vinnie Ciampa). In 1990 he accepted the position of Somerville’s Superintendent of Electric Lights & Lines (full time) at the DPW and went on a temporary leave of absence with the Police Dept.
Also in 1990, he was served notification that the wife of the shooting victum (Franco LaPorta), was sueing him and the City of Somerville for $ 20 million each. He was served on the last day of the two year statue of limitations, and it was done at the Federal Level, along the state level. This civil case went on for four years, two years in the Federal Court System and was subsequentally thrown out. They then proceded in the State Court System, which also lasted two years. The very day of his trial, in Superior Court, in front of the judge, he accepted the terms which closed the case. It was agreed the City of Somerville would pay $3000.00 dollars to Laporta’s wife, with the understanding that the 3k would be going to Laporta’s children (3 x $1000.00 each), and futher that there would be no compensation to her attorney. The matter was then closed, and yet the stress endured after four yrs of litigation, prompted him to quit his city job and move to Maine.
Joe applied for a disability pension with the Somerville Police Deptpartment, and was granted the normal 72 %. After being in Maine for about a year, Joe returned to the Somerville DPW job as Electrical Supt, but only in a part time capacity. He continued to work for Mayors Mike Capuano, Bill Roach , Dot Gay and Joe Curtatone. Joe Curtatone later offered him the position of the combined Superintendents (Electrical & Highway Divisions), a full time job and he was ready for its challenges.
Joe is now retired living in Maine and Florida!
We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute you for everything that you do to make Somerville a better place.