Photo:Metropolitan Police John J. Ahern
By William Tauro
What have we become as a society where police corruption is fueled by scandalous political motivations and practices that political influence and have taken over our justice system. Many of these scandals are fueled by corrupt political micromanaging politicians running rampant throughout our cities and towns and how did we get here?
With all this recent news out there by the media outlets emphasizing the wrong doing regarding the Massachusetts State Police overtime scandals with state troopers getting indicted, losing their pensions and getting locked up, there are still many good cops out there wearing their badges with honor and integrity taking pride in their jobs.
As we know, several cases of alleged fraudulent compensation and overtime hours have been brought before the cities personnel department for review recently that were concerning a handful of police officers including sergeants, captains and lieutenants who have been alleged of illegally stealing compensation hours and overtime money from Somerville taxpayers were audited by the city.
Many of the officers focused on in this investigation and involved in these audits were upper rank officers, the leaders of the department who are allegedly being accused of stealing and committing these actual crimes.
One of these audited cases resulted in a Somerville Police officer actually getting caught stealing over $20,000 in hours and admitting to the charges and then who was simply released of the crime with zero discipline given and no charges filed against him.
Now don’t get me wrong because we do have an overwhelming number of hard working, standup and reputable police officers on the job here in Somerville that take the jobs seriously and do the right thing day in and day out.
Then there are the few bad apples that get away with as much as they can carry that cast a shadow over the entire department giving all the officers including the hardworking good cops a black eye.
Below is a story of a police officer who dedicated his entire career to help and protect people in distress and did his job with the upmost integrity and honor.
He didn’t make much money, but he did his job with pride and he was a credit to the police department and to the people that he served.
Imagine with an annual pay of only $1,028.50 that means he only made $19.77 per week! How did they manage to support their families on that type of income but they managed to do so with integrity without involving themselves in political scandles.
Here’s a photo of John J. Ahern, who joined the Metropolitan Police Department on August 26, 1918, with an annual pay of $1,028.50.
His first year proved to be a memorable one. Many years later, he recalled the screams of horses caught in the Great Molasses Flood of Jan. 15, 1919. He was an informal leader of the younger men on the force, and when the Boston Police went out on strike on September 9, 1919, he was pressured to lead his fellow patrolmen in a sympathy strike.
But his brother-in-law, a Cambridge Police officer, advised him not to go out on strike, warning him that they would all lose their jobs. So he did not go on strike, but a number of MDC patrolmen did join the strike and subsequently lost their jobs.
He was assigned to the Upper Basin station, and walked a beat along the Charles River in all kinds of weather. A good amount of his beat and jurisdiction with the MDC Police Department was including the patrolling of some areas in here in Somerville as well.
He often came home exhausted, cold and with sore feet. At times he drove a motorcycle, and was allowed to bring it home at night.
They made good in what they had to work with and without complaining or putting in for fictional compensation hours and overtime paperwork and still they got the job done and supported their families.
Like I said in the beginning of this article that there are still a tremendous amount of good cops out there doing the right thing, but unfortunately we still have the bad ones that have to be weeded out and brought to justice.